Results from world’s largest 4 day week trial bring good news for the future of work

New research revealed today shows that results from the world’s largest trial of a 4 day week are largely consistent with existing global evidence, further demonstrating the benefits of reduced-hour, output-focused working.

The pilot program – conducted in the UK by non-profit Autonomy – guided over 60 companies and almost 3,000 workers through a six-month trial of a 4 day week, with no loss of pay for workers. This brings the global campaign’s total number of completed pilot participants to 91 companies and approximately 3,500 employees.

Overall results show that almost every organisation will stick to a 4 day week post-trial, with 91% definitely continuing or planning to continue, and a further 4% leaning towards continuing. Only 4% of participants are definitely not continuing.

Companies rated their overall experience of the trials an average of 8.5/10, with business productivity and business performance each scoring 7.5/10. Revenue rose by 35% over the trial periods when compared to similar periods from the previous year, and hiring increased while absenteeism decreased.

The health and well-being of employees also improved, with significant increases observed in physical and mental health, time spent exercising, and overall life and job satisfaction. Rates of stress, burnout and fatigue all fell, while problems with sleep declined.

Environmental outcomes were also encouraging, with commuting time falling across the full sample by a half hour per week.

Lead researcher, Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College observed an encouraging consistency in the data: “Results are largely steady across workplaces of varying sizes, demonstrating this is an innovation which works for many types of organisations.

“There are also some interesting differences. We found that employees in non-profits and professional services had a larger average increase in time spent exercising, while those in construction/manufacturing enjoyed the largest reductions in burnout and sleep problems,” she said.

Behavioural scientist and new CEO of 4 Day Week Global, Dr Dale Whelehan explained the sample produced interesting differences in gender outcomes: “While both men and women benefit from a 4 day week, women’s experience is generally better. This is the case for burnout, life and job satisfaction, mental health and reduced commuting time. Encouragingly, the burden of non-work duties appears to be balancing out, with more men taking on a greater share of housework and childcare,” he said.

Co-founder and Managing Director of 4 Day Week Global, Charlotte Lockhart looked to what’s ahead: “Our team is delighted to be expanding the arguments in favour of a 4 day week today with this new world-class academic research, and we look forward to adding our Australasian pilot results to this data set in the coming weeks and our European, South African, Brazilian and North American results in the coming months,” she said.

Notes to the editor:

Case studies and pilot participants available for interview on request. Of the 91 companies and ~3,500 employees who took part in the pilot programs, 75 companies and 1,751 employees completed the surveys.

About 4 Day Week Global

4 Day Week Global was founded in New Zealand by entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, following the world-renowned success of their pioneering trial of the 4 day week in Perpetual Guardian.

Since then, 4 Day Week Global has supported over 1,000 companies from a variety of industries all over the world to make the permanent transition to reduced-hour, output-focused working. Last year alone, they guided approximately 200 organisations through their pilot programs and plan to run further quarterly global pilots in 2023.

Their approach is based on the 100-80-100™ model designed by Lockhart alongside the Perpetual Guardian trial in 2018. That’s 100% of the pay, for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the output.

In 2023 they formed a partnership with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang to further develop their global consultancy and broaden their research.

4 Day Week Global’s ambition is to make a 4 day week the new default and reduced working time the new standard. Its intention is to lead and grow the global movement for a shorter working week to make it a reality all over the world.

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