The four-day work week has been a success for both businesses and workers, the results of a new international experiment reveal. The 33 participating companies — located in the U.S., Ireland and Australia — saw their revenue jump by more than 37% over the course of 6 months.
Meanwhile, resignation rates and sick days fell. Employees benefited, too, with workers involved in the experiment reporting better mental health and lower risk of exhaustion. More than half of participating firms intend to implement the program full-time by reducing the work week with no reduction in pay.
Calls to shorten the working week have been gathering momentum, driven by rising concerns around workers’ health, a tight labor market, and a pandemic-triggered reappraisal of ways of working. Delivering on employee well-being strategies is a top priority for C-suite leaders faced with persistent reports of employee burnout.
Nevertheless, negative perceptions of a four-day week remain. A survey of U.S. employers found that a large number of managers feared that employees would “slack off” under the arrangement, while 45% of employees in the U.K. feared being perceived as lazy. Further, more thoughtful implementation is required for certain sectors and workforces, such as retail and health care.