Dozens of UK companies may soon ditch the five-day workweek.
The New York Times reports more than 70 firms are participating in a pilot program that shortens the average workweek by 20 percent. As part of the six-month trial, over 33,000 employees were given an extra day off every week without any reductions to their pay. Though some labor experts have expressed concerns over the negative consequences of a four-day workweek, the massive experiment has proven to be quite a success—to the point that many companies could make a permanent shift.
According to 4 Day Week, the nonprofit spearheading the trial, nearly 90 percent of surveyed participants said that the four-day workweek has been going well for the teams. 46 percent said productivity has remained around previous levels, while 34 percent said it has slightly improved and 15 percent said it was significantly improved. Many business leaders highlighted how the abbreviated workweek allows employees to spend more time with family, participate in hobbies, and engage in self-care. The extra time off is believed to re-energize workers and make them more productive once the week begins.
“The four-day week [pilot] has been transformational for us so far,” said Sharon Platts, the chief people officer for Outcomes First Group. “We’ve been delighted to see productivity and output increase and have also been able to make it work in our education and care services, which we thought would be far more challenging. While it’s still early days, our confidence in continuing beyond the trial is growing and the impact on colleague wellbeing has been palpable.”
Though the trial is only at the halfway mark, 86 percent of respondents said they’re “extremely likely” or “likely” to retain the four-day workweek once the pilot program is over.
The experiment is a collaborative effort between 4 Day Week and think tank Autonomy, as well as researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College. You can learn more about the program here.