A year after their successful six-month 4-day week pilot programme, companies continue to see a decline in average working hours, with employees' workweek further reduced to 32.97 hours from a baseline of 38 hours. Surprisingly, this reduction did not come from increased work intensity but from a focus on operational efficiency and continuous improvement throughout the year.
Moreover, workers' experience with the 4-day week remained highly positive, with a consistent rating of 9/10 even beyond the trial's conclusion. Notably, self-rated physical and mental health measures showed improvement over 12 months, while employees reported higher work-life balance scores. The study conducted by non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global reveals the long-lasting impact of the 4-day workweek on employee well-being and company productivity.
Lead researcher, Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College, revealed that life satisfaction scores remained stable with no significant change from the trial's endpoint to the 12-month mark. However, job satisfaction showed a slight regression after a year.
“This suggests the positive effects a 4 day week has on life satisfaction may be more deeply embedded in individuals' overall well-being than in job satisfaction alone. Nonetheless, job satisfaction scores remained higher than baseline.”
Jon Leland, Chief Strategy Officer at Kickstarter, a US-based non-profit that implemented a 4-day week in 2021 said: “The most profound impact was on employee retention. We’ve seen very few people choose to depart the company since the implementation of our 4 day week.”
The change has significantly enhanced their ability to achieve objectives and key results every quarter. Before the pilot, they were hitting about 70% of their goals, but now they consistently achieve more than 90%. Despite initial concerns that a 4-day week might require sacrificing ambition, the company has actually increased the scale of their ambition since adopting the new work schedule.
Dr Dale Whelehan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global said: “We’re delighted to see the positive experience people continue to have with the 4 day week beyond the conclusion of our pilot program. A concern we frequently hear is there’s no way the results from our six-month trials can be maintained, as the novelty eventually must wear off, but here we are a year later with benefits only continuing to grow. This is very promising for the sustainability of this model, and we look forward to tracking companies’ experiences well into the future.”
At the conclusion of the six-month trial, the average weekly working hours stood at 33.85. Although there was a slight increase in burnout levels in the six months after the trial, most of the original improvements were sustained.