In brief: Results from the world's first large-scale, independent study on a four-day work week are in and it seems to be a resounding success. Of the 33 companies that participated, 27 filled out a final survey sharing their experience with the project. On a scale of 0 (very negative) to 10 (very positive), when asked how they thought the trial affected their company overall, the mean response was 9.0. Productivity garnered a mean score of 7.7 and performance got a score of 7.6.
Starting in February 2022, Four Day Week Global (4DWG) initiated trials with dozens of companies and hundreds of employees across the US, Ireland and a few other countries to test a four-day work week.
To participate, companies had to promise not to reduce pay and to enact meaningful work time reduction. Most opted for a four day, 32-hour schedule with Friday off.
4DWG said 18 companies will definitely be continuing with the four-day work week and that an additional seven are planning to continue but haven't made a final decision yet. One participating company indicated leaning toward continuing and another was unsure yet. Notably, none said they were leaning against or not planning to continue.
On the employee side, an overwhelming 97 percent said they wanted to continue the trial. Several well-being metrics including stress, fatigue, burnout and work-family conflict all declined from the beginning to the end of the trial. What's more, physical and mental health improved.
Employees used their extra day off for household chores, hobbies and personal grooming, the report noted.
The four-day work week concept isn't new, but it has picked up significant momentum in recent years following the pandemic.
"As people struggle to recover from the pandemic, workplace stress, long hours and the pressures of daily life have emerged as urgent problems," 4DWG notes. The organization believes a shorter work week is the obvious response to all of this, and that it has the potential to bring social, economic and even climate benefits.
What are your thoughts on the four-day work week? Can employees be just as productive in four days as they are in five? How much of an impact did the pandemic have on this movement? Did society simply get too cozy with all that free time off during lockdowns? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.