Hours continue to fall after four-day week trial

Employers continue to reduce their hours six months after a four-day week trial, according to a new study.

Work life (work-life) balance concept - national work life week


Employers who took part in a global four-day week trial have continued to reduce their hours six months afterwards, with those hours dropping on average from 38 hours a week to just under 33 hours, according to new research.

The study by 4 Day Week Global found that companies’ average working hours continued to fall a year after starting  their six-month trial. It says the reduction is based on working more efficiently rather than more intensively.

Workers’ experience remained positive and unchanged six months after the trial. Self-rated physical and mental health measures improved over 12 months, with employees also reporting increased work-life balance scores.

Lead researcher, Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College said: “Life satisfaction scores remained stable with no significant change from the trial’s endpoint to the 12-month mark. However, job satisfaction showed a slight regression after a year. This suggests the positive effects a 4 day week has on life satisfaction may be more deeply embedded in individuals’ overall well-being than in job satisfaction alone. Nonetheless, job satisfaction scores remained higher than baseline.”

US-based firm Kickstarter reported a ‘profound impact’ on employee retention, boosting their productivity, Jon Leland, Chief Strategy Officer, said: “The most profound impact was on employee retention. We’ve seen very few people choose to depart the company since the implementation of our 4 day week. This has dramatically improved our ability to meet objectives and key results every quarter. While we were lucky to hit 70% prior to our pilot, we now hit more than 90%. It’s easy to think that a company might have to sacrifice some ambition to implement a 4 day week, but we have only increased the scale of our ambition since its adoption.”

Meanwhile, a US and Canadian study of a four-day week trial found that none were planning to return to five days. On a scale of 1-10, companies rated the overall trial an 8.7, reporting great satisfaction with business productivity, performance and ability to attract employees. They also observed a 15% average increase in revenue over the course of the pilot programme. 95% of employees said they wanted to continue their four-day week post-trial. Seven in 10 reported reductions in burnout, while two in five said they felt less stressed.

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