Four-day week tested with 3,300 UK employees proves its effectiveness

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For years, tests around the famous idea of ​​the four-day week have been taking place regularly. In the UK, a 3,300-employee-scale experiment has just reached its midpoint. Result: a positive experience for both employees and companies.

This is one of the largest-scale experiments ever conducted on the four-day work week. was directed by Global 4 Day Week, a non-profit community, in collaboration with more than 70 companies. The community is associated with the University of Oxford, and more specifically with the wellness research center. Researchers from the University of Cambridge, Boston College and the University of Oxford are also collaborating on the project.

The idea was to offer 3,300 employees to work four days a week instead of five, for a period of six months, maintaining the same salary and benefits. The experiment has just reached its midpoint, after three months of testing. For the moment, the results seem more than positive, both on the side of companies and employees. According to the collective, 88% of respondents said the four-day week was working “well” for their business at this stage of the trial. 46% of respondents say their company’s productivity “has remained about the same level”, while 34% say it has “slightly improved”. Finally, 15% declare that they have “improved considerably”.

In other words, for 95% of the structures in question, productivity was not negatively affected. In fact, 86% of those surveyed also said that at this stage of the trial, they would be “extremely likely” and/or “likely” to consider maintaining the four-day-a-week policy after the trial period. .

Encouraging data

Organizations in the UK pilot project provide real-time insights and data that are worth their weight in gold. In essence, they’re laying the groundwork for the future of work by putting a four-day week into practice, across all sizes of companies and nearly every industry, and telling us exactly what they’re finding as they go. explains Joe O’Connor of 4day Global in Press release.

Additionally, companies also reported a relatively smooth transition from the traditional five-day to four-day workweek. On a scale of 1 being “ extremely difficult to 5 being ” extremely fluid ”, 4 Day Week Global found that 98% of respondents rated the transition to the four-day work week as 3 or more.

Of course, the experiment is not without risk. ” For some, there are understandable obstacles, especially among those with relatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures that go back well beyond the last century. » explains Joe O’Connor. However, he assures that the experience has been positive for the vast majority of companies.

On the employee side, the psychological benefits of the four-day week also appear to be proven. “ There are also welfare gains here in addition to the ecological benefits of these work-from-home practices and potentially a four-day workweek. », explained Jan-Emmanuel De Nevedirector of the Wellbeing Research Center at the University of Oxford, in May 2020”. Looking at what makes people happy with their jobs or satisfied with life in general, research has shown that work-life balance plays an important role. “.

However, some watchdog points had been raised, reported in particular in this Euronews article : To stay productive, employees tend to socialize less with each other. ” We haven’t seen a drop in productivity, but some of the things that can be sacrificed are opportunities for the team to be more social. We need to be more proactive in ensuring that people spend enough time together to build strong and productive relationships. “, Paddy Lambros, head of human resources and talent at the technology company Sensat, had declared at the beginning of the experiment.

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