The world’s largest trial of the “4 day working week” has just ended and almost all the companies that participated have decided to continue with a reduced working days model.

61 companies across varied market and business sectors (with a total of 2900 employees) agreed to a trial reducing their hours to a four-day week with no reduction in pay from June to December 2022. Participating companies have seen revenues remaining largely the same while employees wellbeing improved significantly according to the report.

The report, published by Autonomy and 4 Day Week Global showed that employees experienced less stress and reduced anxiety, whilst greater job satisfaction as they were able to balance work with family, caring and social commitments. The results also showed a greater job retention and a substantial deduction in sick days.

Overall results show that almost every organisation will stick to a 4 day week post-trial, with 91% definitely continuing or planning to continue. Most significant was the increase in revenue by 35% over the trial period when compared to similar periods from the previous year, and the benefits of employee retention and in the hiring and recruitment process.

Each company involved in the recent UK four-day work week pilot programme designed a policy tailored to their particular industry, organisation, structure and work culture.

There are a range of different four-day week models to consider based on issues such as the way days off are chosen or how quickly the model is implemented. Each company in the trial designed a policy that was tailored to their needs, organisation structure and work culture, and each company also chose their own way to measure changes in productivity, from sales revenue, speed to service, project delivery date etc… through to customer and staff satisfaction.
The report concluded that careful planning of the shift to a four-day week and providing specific training for managers and employees was crucial to success. Poor implementation could result in problems including stress and a lack of engagement around preserving productivity. To ensure the success of a four-day working week, input, feedback and commitment from employees at every company level is crucial.
There are obviously other options for flexible working. Covid lockdown facilitated the interest in various flexible work practices, such as remote working and work from home. Further studies have showed that the switch to a 4 day working week was still the desired option over the work from home option, and also have shown that women were more likely to want to explore alternate working options than men.
It looks like more businesses and organisation will look to adjust their working practices, however a balance must be struck between employees preference and work processes and requirements whilst maintain productivity and improved employee wellbeing.