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Idea Box

Five into four does go!

A recent trial of a four-day working week in the UK has provided proof (as though proof were needed) of the benefits of a shorter week. Sixty-one British companies employing 3,000 people in total took part in the trial from June to December 2022, with staff retaining their existing salaries but enjoying a significant reduction in working time.

The six-month trial kicked off with two months of preparation for participants, who were given specific coaching and advice. One of the earliest ideas was that a “one-size-fits-all” solution was not feasible: each company designed a system to meet its particular organizational challenges.

The trial proved to be a resounding success: 56 out of the 61 companies are continuing with the four-day week (92%), including 18 confirming that the new policy is permanent.

The key benefit was the increased well-being of employees (and, it follows, an upturn in their commitment): 39% were less stressed and tired, and 71% had lower levels of burnout, with a marked improvement in their mental and physical health. This was reflected in a 57% drop in the number of staff leaving participating companies.

And, in spite of the abbreviated working time, revenue grew by 1.4% compared to the same period in previous years. In plain language, the average productivity of each employee jumped by 35%. While 64% of employees said it was easier for them to combine their work and personal lives, 15% declared that “no amount of money” would convince them to give up their new lifestyle.

In a nutshell: QED…

To go further

The Results are In: the UK’s Four-Day Week Pilot

Autonomy, february 2023

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.