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Would you prefer a four day working week?

We hear this question a lot lately, by a lot of our friends, collaborators, and clients. This is mainly why we thought of it as a question of general interest and decided to publicly try to answer it.

As genuine researchers in nature, we chose to start with some solid research insights, instead of mentioning what we have noticed based on our own experience since we first introduced this policy, in June 2022.

Many countries across the globe like Belgium, Portugal, UK, Scotland and Wales, Spain, Iceland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, have started to adopt the 4-day week, mainly on a trial mode, so as to see if the intended goals are reached.

Research conducted by a team of social scientists at University of Cambridge (along with various collaborations), using 61 companies from diverse sectors and sizes, participating during a six month trial period, has revealed some interesting findings[1].

Pulse Posts July23 06

According to this research, the adoption of the four-day week significantly reduces stress and illness in the workforce and helps with worker retention. More specifically, the research showed that there was a 65% reduction in sick days and a 57% drop in the number of employees leaving their participating companies, compared to the same period in the previous year.

Some of the proven benefits found regarding the impact on employees’ well-being, based on before and after statistics collected, included the following: 39% of employees reported to be less stressed and 71% to have reduced levels of burnout. While their levels of anxiety and fatigue dropped, their mental and physical health had also improved. 60% of the employees reported an increase in their ability to combine work with care responsibilities, and 62% reported it easier to combine their work with their social life.

On the side of business, metrics also showed evidence of positive effects from shorter working hours. Their revenues rose by 1.4% on average during the trial period, and when compared to a similar period during the previous years, on average a 35% increase was reported.

Based on our own experience, we could say it works very well, as multiple benefits are becoming increasingly visible to us after repeating it for the second time. We see a clear rise in productivity, motivation, passion/effort put in projects, as well as a closer connection between employees and the company and with each other. By the end of this season, we intend to perform an assessment of the implications based on more tangible metrices, such as absenteeism, employee turnover and number of job applications we have received compared to previous years and of course we will be happy share our conclusions with our friends, collaborators, clients and anyone who would be interested.

In the meantime however, we can confidently support one conclusion: Business is getting better, as long as people are happier!

[1] Would you prefer a four-day working week? (cam.ac.uk)