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11th Mar 2024

Four-day week made permanent by most UK companies taking part in biggest trial ever

Nina McLaughlin

Nearly everyone who took part saw benefits…

The majority of British companies that took part in the world’s biggest four-day week trial have made the switch to a shorter week permanent.

Out of the 61 companies from the UK who took part in the trial, 54 of them (89%) are still working four days a week a year later.

In total, 31 (51%) have made the move to a shorter working week permanent.

The trial saw companies reduce their working week by an average of 6.6 hours, taking it to an average of 31.6 hours.

The report into the four-day week found that 55% of CEOs and managers found that the move had a positive impact on their workplace – 82% cited better staff wellbeing, with 50% saying it had reduced the turnover of workers, and 32% saying it made recruitment easier. Additionally, 46% even claimed that productivity had improved.

Professor of sociology at Boston College Juliet Schor, who authored the study, said the results showed the “real and long lasting” impact of a four-day work week.

“Physical and mental health, and work-life balance are significantly better than at six months. Burnout and life satisfaction improvements held steady,” she said, via The Guardian.

The report, which came from thinktank Autonomy and researchers from the University of Salford, Cambridge and Boston College in the US, did note that they had used a small sample of companies, but insisted that the benefits seen in the initial trial had persisted a year on.

A whopping 96% of staff unsurprisingly said that their personal lives had benefitted from the shorter week, and 86% said they felt their work performance had improved too.

Just under a quarter (24%) said that the four-day week had helped with caring duties, with 38% claiming their organisation as a whole had improved productivity.

However, not everything was sunshine and roses, with companies claiming it was a struggle to co-ordinate the shorter week with clients and stakeholders, meaning some staff ended up having to work longer weeks than others.

Related links:

Boss gives staff pay raise and four day week to cover National Insurance hike

World’s largest ever four day week trial ‘overwhelming success’