Monday, May 29, 2023

The 4-day week in England is a hit for businesses

A large-scale trial of four-day weeks in the UK carried out between June and December 2022 has largely reassured the companies who experimented with it, according to findings published by organizers on Tuesday 21 February. More than 60 companies participated in the experiment, which enabled nearly 3,000 employees to work one day less per week while maintaining the same pay. The test was organized by the association 4 Day Week Global, exclusively in association with the Universities of Cambridge and Boston College.

The results “show that nearly all companies will continue the 4-day week after the trial”, with more than nine out of ten saying they are certain to continue, according to a press release. Only 4% of companies say they are certain to shut down. The experience has been “very, very positive” and the difference can be seen “on a daily basis” among employees, told AFP Nathan Jenkinson, client director at Tyler Grange, an environmental consulting firm that has now adopted the four-day course. Week. Employees “come back to work on Monday at the beginning of the week after three days of rest, much more positive and with more energy”, he continued.

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Employees who switch to a four-day week

During the trial the company’s turnover increased very slightly (+2%), absenteeism decreased by 66% and the number of applications increased by 88%. In general, the study shows that companies have not been penalized by these lighter weeks. Revenue remained stable on average during the experiment (+1.4% during testing), even showing a 35% increase compared to the same period in 2021. According to the researchers, the companies also saw fewer resignations or absenteeism.

reduced stress and fatigue

The study further found “significant improvements in physical and mental health, time spent exercising, and overall life and work satisfaction,” with less stress, burnout, and fatigue, and fewer sleep problems. “Most companies chose to give everyone their Friday off” and it works particularly well where teams have to work together at the same time, Brendan Burchell, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge, told AFP. But depending on needs, some at other companies took Mondays or found “creative solutions” such as more days in the winter and fewer in the summer, in the case of more seasonal jobs, the researcher said.

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Initially, 70 companies had registered to participate in the project, but nine gave up before the start, the organizers explained, mostly because the companies did not feel prepared enough. Experimentation with the four-day week has recently increased in Europe, but also in the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

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