Nexstar Media Wire News

33 companies tested a 4-day workweek. None are planning to switch back

(NEXSTAR) – One less day of work, not a dollar less in pay – for an employee, what’s not to love? But even employers like the idea, a recent trial of about 30 companies shows.

Thirty-three companies employing about 1,000 people in the U.S., Ireland and Australia decided to test out a four-day, 32-hour workweek as part of a six-month pilot designed by the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global and professors at Boston College. The trial instructed “employees to work 80% of their regularly scheduled hours in return for 100% of their pay and a pledge to deliver 100% of their standard output.”

Of those that participated, 27 companies decided to share their thoughts, and the results came in this week:

Eighteen companies say they definitely plan to continue a four-day week, seven intend to continue but haven’t finalized plans, one company is “leaning toward continuing” and one is “not yet sure.” Zero of the participating companies said they were leaning toward stopping or switching back.

The overall average rating by employees was a 9.1 out of 10, 4 Day Week Global said in its final report. About 97% said they wanted to continue the trial. Employees cited improvement in stress, burnout, work-life balance and physical health as reasons they preferred the shorter week.

Seventy percent of employees surveyed said they’d need a 10% to 50% pay bump to consider returning to a 40-hour week.

The companies involved saw revenue increase during the trial period by about 8%, 4 Day Week Global found. Many companies also gained employees and grew in size at a time when many similar organizations were struggling to fight the “Great Resignation” trend.

When asked how productivity was affected, companies gave the trial a score of 7.7 out of 10.

While a four-day week is still rare in the United States, it has gained popularity in other parts of the world. A study in Iceland involved moving about 1% of the country’s workforce to a 35- or 36-hour week, reports the Washington Post. They found employees loved the shorter week, and productivity either remained the same or improved.

“There is actually a fairly large amount – and growing – of current literature on the four-day workweek,” Timothy P. Munyon, associate professor of management at the University of Tennessee, told Nexstar’s WATE. “The general consensus is that it improves productivity, reduces burnout, and increases respite.”

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