Is a ‘4 Day’ Work Week to Become the New Normal?

A six-month study looked into whether a four-day working week is beneficial for employees and if it can become the new normal.

Is a '4 Day' Work Week to Become the New Normal f


Almost 2,900 employees took part

A six-month study found that working four days per week increases employee well-being, lowers stress, and maintains productivity.

According to a trial by 4 Day Week Global and the UK’s 4 Day Week Campaign, a four-day workweek significantly lowers rates of stress and illness among employees.

The study found that 71% of employees reported lower levels of “burnout” and 39% said they were less stressed, compared to the beginning of the trial.

Over a six-month period starting in June 2022, 61 organisations in the UK agreed to a 20% decrease in working hours for all employees, with no salary cutbacks.

Almost 2,900 employees took part, skipping a day of work.

Furthermore, the majority of organisations continued to aim for full-time productivity.

Online shops, financial service providers, animation studios and a fish and chip shop were among the trial’s participants.

The other industries covered include consulting, housing, IT, skincare, recruiting, hospitality, marketing and healthcare.

Employees were polled periodically during the trial to gauge the effect of an extra day off.

The experiment showed that self-reported levels of worry and exhaustion dropped across workforces, while mental and physical health increased.

In addition, a large percentage of poll participants indicated they found it easier to juggle work with social and familial obligations, with 60% of workers reporting an improved capacity to mix paid jobs with caregiving duties and 62% reporting an easier time doing so.

Sociologist Professor Brendan Burchell directed the University of Cambridge’s side of the research.

He said: “Before the trial, many questioned whether we would see an increase in productivity to offset the reduction in working time – but this is exactly what we found.

“Many employees were very keen to find efficiency gains themselves.

“Long meetings with too many people were cut short or ditched completely.

“Workers were much less inclined to kill time, and actively sought out technologies that improved their productivity.”

In addition, the experiment discovered a 65% drop in sick days and a 57% drop in the number of employees quitting participating organisations than in February 2022.

Little changed for the company’s revenue throughout the trial time, and it even slightly increased on average by 1.4%.

Almost 92% of the businesses that took part in the UK pilot programme (56 out of 61) aim to maintain the four-day work week, with 18 businesses confirming the shift as permanent, according to a study of the findings sent to UK MPs.

Ilsa is a digital marketeer and journalist. Her interests include politics, literature, religion and football. Her motto is “Give people their flowers whilst they’re still around to smell them.”

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