Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Working a 4-day week is ‘best for staff and business’

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A four-day week makes workers happier and firms richer, the world’s biggest trial has revealed. Trimming down office hours by a fifth meant employees took 65 per cent fewer sick days, while there were 57 fewer resignations.

Workers were on average 71 percent less burnt out and 39 percent less stressed, the experiment found.

Company revenues also increased by 1.4 percent on average.

Cambridge University ran the six-month trial with 61 UK firms, spanning fish and chip shops and online retailers to financial services.

When it ended, 92 percent of bosses – overseeing a total 2,900 staff – aimed to keep four-day weeks.

Their successful strategies included cutting meeting times, limiting emails, setting targets, introducing “focus periods” of undisturbed work and making handovers from one team to another more efficient.

Professor Brendan Burchell, who led the research organised by the 4-Day Week Campaign, said: “Before the trial, many questioned whether we would see an increase in productivity to offset the reduction in working time – but this is exactly what we found.

“Many employees were very keen to find efficiency gains themselves. Long meetings with too many people were cut short or ditched completely.

“Workers were much less inclined to kill time, and actively sought out technologies that improved their productivity.

“Almost everyone we interviewed described being overwhelmed with questions from other organisations that are interested in following suit.

“When we ask employers, a lot of them are convinced the four-day week is going to happen.

“It has been uplifting just talking to so many upbeat people over the last six months. A four-day week means a better-working life and family life for many.” The trial covered sectors including healthcare, marketing, hospitality, recruitment and housing.

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