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Can a four-day working week be the answer to work-life balance? If so, what does it mean for your company?

We look at the summary results from the world’s largest four-day working week trial and highlight the benefits for both employer and employee.

What was the trial?

The trial took place in the UK, consisting of 61 companies and around 2,900 employees. Beginning in June 2022, the campaign was run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at the University of Cambridge and Boston College.

The principle is that companies can work smarter and not harder, with the strategy based upon the 100-80-100 ™ model – 100% of the pay, 80% of the time, for 100% of the productivity.

What were the results?

As per, the results are as follows:
• Almost every company (92%) that took part decided to continue the four-day week after the pilot.
• The vast majority of companies were satisfied that business performance and productivity was maintained.
• Over the six-month trial period, stress and burnout for employees significantly declined, with 71% of employees reporting lower levels of burnout.
• Reported levels of anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health both experienced improvements.
• Measures of work-life balance improved. Respondents found it easier to balance their work with family and social commitments and were more satisfied with their household finances, relationships and how their time was managed.
• Other key business metrics showed signs of positive effects. Companies’ revenue stayed broadly the same, rising by 1.4% on average.
• There was a substantial decline (57%) in the likelihood that an employee would quit, dramatically improving job retention.
• There was a 65% reduction in the number of sick days.

What are the benefits of a four-day working week?

With an improved employee experience and better employee engagement, the trial has been proven to boost the following:

Employee retention and engagement
Since COVID-19, many employees are looking towards work-life balance and welfare instead of financial reward, resulting in a more engaged team and additional benefits that make you more attractive as an employer.

A four-day working week can provide those employees who have to balance childcare and work better opportunities whilst improving gender equality in the workplace.

That added day away from the office can offer employees an increased opportunity to help the community in which they live through volunteering or charitable fundraising.

Although the wage bill may remain the same, there will be reduced costs for both employers and employees, such as travel expenses, office running costs and childcare costs.

If your employees are happier, they will be more productive. Companies in the trial reported an average increase in revenue of 1.4%

Many legal implications need to be considered when implementing a four-day working week, such as changes to terms and conditions and benefits, as well as the impact on part-time workers and the consultation/engagement process a company will have to go to before implementing such changes. Naturally, we will update you with any further developments on this topic as things progress.

In the meantime, if you need any support with any aspect of employment law, please contact us, and we would be happy to advise you.