The world’s largest trial of the four-day work week has ended, with overwhelmingly positive results.

Key points
  • The study found that more than nine out of ten firms will continue with the reduced workweek or plan to do so.
  • Productivity was unaffected by the lighter week, with the company’s revenue up 1.4% on average over the test period.
  • The study also showed that hiring increased and absenteeism decreased.
A four-day work week is more productive for most employees and companies than the traditional five days, according to one of the largest trials of its kind in the UK on Tuesday.
More than 60 UK firms took part in the six-month experiment, allowing nearly 3,000 employees to work one day less a week for the same pay.
Held between June and December last year, it was hosted by the non-profit group along with the Autonomy think tank, the University of Cambridge and Boston College in the US.
It has been described as the world’s largest trial of a four-day work week.
The study found that more than nine out of ten firms will continue with the reduced workweek or plan to do so, organizers said in a statement.
Just four percent won’t last it.

“The results are largely consistent across workplace sizes, demonstrating that this is an innovation that works for many types of organizations,” said lead researcher and Boston College professor Juliet Shore.

Productivity was unaffected by the lighter workweek, with the company’s revenue up 1.4% on average over the test period.
Revenue jumped an average of 35 percent compared to the same period in previous years.
The study also found that hiring increased and absenteeism decreased, while the number of laid-off employees dropped sharply during the trial.
In addition, the researchers concluded that the overall health and well-being of employees improved.
There was a “significant” improvement in physical and mental health, time spent exercising, and overall life and work satisfaction.

According to the statement, the indicators of stress, burnout and fatigue have decreased, and sleep problems have decreased.

“Really positive”

“For employees, their mental health improved, they slept better and burned out less,” University of Cambridge professor Brendan Burchell told AFP.
“But at the same time, companies reported that if there were changes in their profits or productivity, they would likely rise rather than fall.

“And we had a lot of very happy people, people really liked it; they considered it such a reward to have a three-day weekend instead of a two-day one.”

British environmental consultancy Tyler Grange was among 18 firms to permanently move to a four-day week after participating.
“My experience has been very, very positive, you can see it in people who work day in and day out at work, that they are more energetic at work,” Tyler Grange’s chief account officer Nathan Jenkinson told AFP.

Employees “come to work early in the week on Monday after three days off and feel much more positive about work and have a lot more energy.”

Tyler Grange reported that turnover increased slightly despite the reduction in working hours.
In recent years, research on the four-day workweek has spread around the world as employers explore post-pandemic flexibility, including the concept of a hybrid workplace that allows more work from home.
Short week experiments have been carried out in Europe, the US and Canada, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

However, when asked if the UK government could adopt a lawsuit as national policy, Rishi Sunaka, a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunaka, made a cautious remark, saying that “there were no plans to do so.”