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UK Four Day Workweek Trial: Results Halfway Through Are Positive

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Midpoint results are in for one of the world’s largest four-day work week trial, and the rdata so far is encouraging.

In June, 70 UK-based companies integrated a four-day workweek to determine a truncated workweek’s feasibility and economic ramifications. Now, at the halfway mark of the trial, run by 4 Day Week Global, 88% of the companies reporting midpoint results claim there has been no productivity loss, and many say workers are getting more done in four days than they did in five. Eighty-six percent of respondents said they’d consider implementing a four-day week after the trial is complete.

“The organizations in the United Kingdom pilot are contributing real-time data and knowledge that are worth their weight in gold,” Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said in a statement. “Essentially, they are laying the foundation for the future of work by putting a four-day week into practice, across every size of business and nearly every sector, and telling us exactly what they are finding as they go.”

The results coincide with findings from other four-day workweek trials both in the U.S. and around the world. The most well-known, a 2021 Icelandic trial, was a resounding success, with workers reporting increased happiness and employers saying productivity and customer satisfaction remained steady.

There has been a slow crawl toward a four-day work week in the U.S. as well. Most notably, California introduced a bill earlier this year that, if passed into law, would mandate a 32-hour workweek with no decrease in pay. The bill has been shelved for now, but sponsors hope for the chance to reintroduce it during the next session.

Dozens of North American companies have jumped on the shortened workweek bandwagon, whether their home state or provincial legislature is on board or not. The trend is catching on as employers try to stave off “the great resignation” and employees attempt to find that elusive work-life balance.

And so far, so good. Only a handful of employers in the UK trial had issues, and trial organizers chalk those problems up to growing pains, citing “some understandable hurdles – especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures which date back well into the last century.”

“The four-day week [pilot] has been transformational for us so far,” said Sharon Platts, CPO of trial participant Outcomes First Group. “We’ve been delighted to see productivity and output increase and have also been able to make it work in our education and care services, which we thought would be far more challenging. While it’s still early days, our confidence in continuing beyond the trial is growing and the impact on colleague wellbeing has been palpable.”

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