In September, the largest worldwide trial for a 4 day work week occurred in the United Kingdom. That means that thousands of workers across the UK worked 4 days (32 hours) while maintaining the same pay.
The data from the UK program is in. Four Day Week Global, an advocacy group, has released a report summarizing the findings from companies that adopted 4 day work weeks in the September trial.
We understand that studies like these provide helpful numbers when evaluating the many pros and cons of adopting a similar approach, so we’re distilling everything you need to know about the 4 day work week data.
Primary Takeaways From the 4 Day Work Week Report
92% of organizations and companies are continuing their 4 day weeks.
Productivity, business performance, and revenue were positively impacted.
71% of employees had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial.
4 Day Wins
The report data for the 4 day work week is overwhelmingly positive. Here is the high-level executive summary of what you need to know about the key wins for companies and organizations that participated in the 4 day work week pilot program.
Employer-Centric Data From the 4 Day Work Week Trial
Revenue rose by 1.4% on average over the trial.
Business performance and productivity scored 7.5/10 on 2 different scales.
Companies rated their overall experience of the trial an 8.3/10.
Compared to a period from similar years, organizations reported a 35%+ increase in revenue.
Organizations experienced a -57% reduction in the number of employees leaving.
Employee-Centric Data From the 4 Day Work Week Trial
90% of employees said they “definitely want to continue” the 4 day work week.
55% of employees reported an increase in their ability at work.
15% said “no amount of money” would make them accept a 5 day schedule at their next job.
Remaining Questions for the 4 Day Work Week
While the results from 4 Day Week Global’s report are overwhelmingly positive, there are still some remaining questions that business leaders need to consider before we all go hog wild adopting a 4 day work week.
How much of the positive data is due to novelty?
The UK’s pilot program lasted only 90 days. It is possible that initial gains could be due to employee excitement over the novelty of the project. Long-term data is still needed to determine if the gains will be sustained.
How much of a role did culture play in the program’s success?
What works for one culture may not work for another. Researchers need to consider what role culture plays in the success of the UK’s 4 day work week trials. To date, 4 Day Work Week Global has only conducted tests in English-speaking countries.
Is there variation in results by industry?
One of the main questions we’ve found ourselves asking is, “how does the data look when you break participating companies down by industry?” Does tech look the same as government? Does the effect of knowledge worker performance look the same as employees whose work is more hourly-focused (like factory and customer service workers)?
What Was the UK’s 4 Day Work Week Program?
Sixty-one (61) companies in the UK participated in a pilot program, adopting a 4 day work week. The test program took place from September through December 2022. In the 4 day program, employees maintained the same salary but adopted a 4 day (32 hour) work schedule each week.
The program was organized and run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the UK’s 4 Day Week Campaign and Autonomy, a think tank.
Who Led the UK’s 4 Day Week Research?
Professors Juliet Schor and Wen Fan of Boston College and Dr. David Frayne and Prof. Brendan Burchell of Cambridge University led the research.
What Countries Have a 4 Day Work Week?
Countries that have participated in 4 day work week trials include the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
One report does not make for a mandate. Instead, this data will likely be one of many consideration points that business leaders grapple with as we continue to imagine the future of work. Every business needs to make decisions based on its specific situation—its goals, its challenges, its culture, and its workforce.
One thing is for sure: the amount of time that employees spend in the office impacts how you should plan the space. As more teams transition to long-term hybrid work, we’re seeing an increase in collaboration spaces.
Looking for inspiration for how to plan your space in 2023? Check out these resources.
Need planning guides? Measurement guides? Furniture guides? We’ve got you covered on the blog.