We have been trained from an early age to associate our passion for work or productivity with the number of hours we spend at work. The 4 Day Week Global Coalition has decided to re-program workers and companies to get work done faster and spend more time off work. They want to experiment with work weeks that end on Thursdays and leave the employees with three whole days to re-energize themselves while receiving the original compensation.
In the UK, the 4 Day Week Global Coalition has been collaborating with Cambridge University, the University of Oxford and Boston College to analyze the effect of adopting a 4-day week on businesses, in terms of productivity, employee well-being, morale, and growth. Currently, they are in the middle of the largest multinational 4-day work week experiment so far. It started in January in Ireland, included companies in the USA and Canada in April, and entered the UK in June. The second leg of the trial is set to begin in October.
The results of the experiment are extremely positive in the UK. It involved 70 companies of various sizes with 3300 employees. Some businesses committed their entire workforce to the experiment and some went in with a subset of their total strength.
Of the participating companies, 88% have said that the 4-day work week has been going well for them. Productivity remained the same for 46% of the respondents, 34% said it improved slightly, and 15% reported a noticeable increment in productivity.
The most significant news is that 86% of the participants are likely to retain the 32-hour workweek policy even after the pilot program ends. The pandemic has altered the outlook on work for a lot of people. Employees, as well as executives, are keener on making the best use of their time at work and have a full life outside of it as well.
There are, of course, challenges involved in this transition. The participants have had to create more meeting-free hours for employees to encourage deep focus. The mindful usage of technology plays a huge role here too. There have been a couple of cases where businesses trying to adopt the 4-day week have lost clients. Nevertheless, the results are overwhelmingly positive and a broad cultural change might be around the corner.