Largest four-day working week trial shows it has been a huge success for businesses and workers

Out of the 61, at least 56 companies that took part said they plan to continue with the four-day working week

A group of people on a stage with a sign reading four day week

The largest trial of a four-day working week has shown it to be a huge success, with more than nine out of 10 companies that adopted a shorter working week in the UK deciding to continue with it.

The 6-month trial, which involved almost 3,000 workers and was carried out among companies ranging from education and consultancy as well as businesses to banking and IT, found that revenue at participating companies rose on average by more than a third over the trial period, compared with the same time in 2021.

The results also showed a significant decrease in the rates of stress and illness among workers. 39 percent of employees said they were less stressed compared with the start of the trial, and the number of sick days taken during the trial dropped by around two thirds.

Staff turnover at participating companies also improved, with a 57 percent drop in the number of staff leaving the participating companies compared with the same period the previous year.

The pilot saw 61 companies across a variety of sectors in the UK commit to reducing their working hours for all staff by 20 per cent, for six months from June last year. Out of the 61, at least 56 companies that took part said they plan to continue with the four-day working week, while 18 firms confirmed the policy has become a permanent change.

It’s significant to note that the firms involved in the trial did not reduce the wages of their employees for working 4 days a week.

The findings of the pilot scheme will be presented to MPs on Tuesday as campaigners urge the government to give every British worker a 32-hour working week.

Research for the trial was carried out by academics from the University of Cambridge and Boston College from the US. The trial itself was co-ordinated by not-for-profit organisation 4 Day Week Global, in partnership with think tank Autonomy and campaign group 4 Day Week Campaign.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Professor Juliet Schor, of Boston College, said: “Results are largely steady across workplaces of varying sizes, demonstrating this is an innovation which works for many types of organisations.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

Picture credit: Francesc Fort: Creative Commons)

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