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The Largest ‘Four Day Work Week’ Trial in History Provides Encouraging Results

The largest four-day work week trial in history has concluded, with 92% of participating companies choosing to continue implementing four-day weeks after the trial period.

The pilot study showed positive effects for both companies and workers, including a 35% higher average economic growth for companies compared to a six-month period before the study. Additionally, 71% of workers reported lower rates of burnout, 39% were less stressed, and only 13% experienced more stress.

The main buildings of Glasgow city council: one employer considering the introduction of the four-day work week Credit: Ben Francis

Growing in popularity and awareness, the idea of a four-day working week has gained traction as more studies yield successful outcomes. The conventional five-day week, established in the early 1900s due to union advocacy, was once considered politically taboo. However, recent examples like the 2019 labour manifesto have helped change that perception.
Colin Mathieson, the spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, a company that participated in the study, described the many benefits his business experienced after the introduction of the four-day week in 2018. These included increased staff retention, productivity, improved customer service, and a substantial reduction in employee absences
Mathieson believes that the four-day work week has had a “positive impact on all employees," attributing much of this success to the extra day off giving workers time to carry out “life admin” and freeing up the weekend for workers to “focus on themselves and get rest.” A University of Oxford study found happier, well-rested workers were 13% more productive.

empty office environment with limited staff at work. Credit: under Creative Commons License

Advocates of the four-day work week hope that the success of studies like this one will encourage more businesses to adopt the shorter work week. Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has also urged businesses to think about adopting the practice.

However, opponents, particularly in the business community, point out that the four-day model may not be suitable for all industries, and its implementation in some industries could increase prices. Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin contends that prices would increase disproportionately in bars if the four-day work week were to be adopted.


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