The majority of companies that participated in a six-month trial of the four-day workweek in the United Kingdom have opted to stick with the new system, with 61 of the 71 companies that took the trial extending the shorter workweek. Eighteen companies have made the changes permanent. The trial showed a significant reduction in stress and sickness rates among workers, with seven out of ten employees reporting less burnout and four out of ten less stress. In addition, the companies that participated in the test maintained their productivity targets, reduced sick leave by 65%, and reduced the number of employees leaving the company by 57%. The companies’ revenues hardly changed during the test period and even increased by 1.4% on average.
The report with the findings of the labor experiment has been submitted to British legislators to consider whether it could be made mandatory in future years. The research for the tests was carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with academics from Boston College. The test involved companies from a range of sectors with around 2,900 employees, from online retailers and financial service providers to animation studios and a fishmonger, and including sectors such as consulting, housing, IT, skin care, recruitment, hospitality, marketing, and healthcare.
Employees highlighted, among the benefits of the 32-hour work week, the greater ease of reconciling work with family and social commitments. They also felt more valued by their company in general. The test results could be seen as evidence that the shorter working week could work across the UK economy.
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