Several companies have started to try out a four-day workweek, and the data is definitive — there’s no turning back.
4 Day Work Week Global, a not-for-profit community devoted to helping others see the merit in four-day workweeks, helped organize an experiment in which 33 companies across six countries cut back to a 32-hour workweek. Partnering with Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania, and Oxford University, 4 Day Work Week Global amalgamated and analyzed the data from these trials. The results, surprisingly, were that employees stayed productive 80% of the time. Revenue was increased, sustainability became more of a reality, and employee wellbeing skyrocketed. Now, Business Insider reports that more than a hundred companies are considering implementing the same schedule.
In light of the Great Resignation, the four-day workweek movement has been picking up steam. Employees want more flexible environments and hybrid schedules. However, research into the four-day workweek began before the pandemic; from 2015 to 2019, Iceland’s Reykjavik City Council employed a four-day workweek across social services offices, preschools, hospitals, and more. And in 2019, a study from Henley Business School found that more than two thirds of those operating on a four-day workweek saw increased levels of productivity. Then, in 2021, startups like Bolt began trying four-day workweeks to increase employee retention, save money on office space, and meet employee needs for flexibility.
Four-day workweeks are far from perfect, according to critics. Longer workdays might actually mean more stress for employees — and for companies who have busier cycles, this might mean ten or twelve-hour workdays. And companies that offer 24-hour customer service availability wouldn’t be able to close for one day per week, which could cause scheduling difficulties. But despite these issues, many organizations seem to be enjoying a four-day workweek for its many benefits and negotiating the potential pitfalls well.