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24 February 2023

Four-day work week trial finds few are going back

  • HRi blog
  • , Latest news

Posted by: HRi

A study of the trial by think tank Autonomy, the University of Cambridge and Boston College report many signs of positive effects from a four-day work week.

The pilot took place in the UK from June to December 2022 with 61 organisations taking part covering around 2,900 workers.  Of the 61 organisations that participated 56 (92%) will be continuing with the four-day week once the pilot completes.  18 of these continuing companies have already confirmed the policy is permanent.


Four-day work week models

The report reveals a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach was not adopted.  Instead, each company taking part in the trial designed a policy tailored to its industry, organisational challenges, departmental structures and work culture.  Therefore, various models of a four-day week were piloted. Various models reported include fifth day stoppage so, typically ‘Friday-offs’,  a staggered approach where a buddy system may be adopted. Other models include decentralised and annualised.


Positive effects from shorter working hours

The report reveals many positive effects of shorter working hours. Revenue was one of the positive effects. Companies’ revenues stayed broadly the same over the six-month trial period rising by 1.4% on average.  Some of the most positive effects of shorter working hours is employee well-being and work-life balance. 39% of employees reported less stress, and over 70% had reduced levels of burnout. For many, the positive effects of a four-day week were worth more than their weight in money.

Despite the trial taking place during a phase where the ‘Great Resignation’ was popular, another positive effect of shorter working hours is job retention. Employees were 57% less likely to quit. There was also a 65% reduction in absences, another positive effect of the trial.

The report concludes that the overall experience has been a positive one, both for companies through leaders and for the employees.

As an Independent HR and People professional, working with your clients to review their working practices may add value and bring  many benefits to your clients and their employees. This report is a useful tool for demonstrating the benefits of the 4 day working week.