What the experiment showed in 41 companies in the United States and Canada
The beneficial effects on the health and performance of employees from the four working day week is confirmed by the latest research of the non-profit organization, which advocates this philosophy, 4 Day Week Global. A year ago, a four-day, 8-hour workday pilot program was launched at 41 businesses in the United States and Canada, lasting a semester. Gradually, the average working hours follow a downward trend, because the employer finds new ways to save time.
As part of the experiment, the agency is tracking health, well-being and work outcomes when people work fewer hours. One of the findings is that, on average, the hours were reduced from 38 at the beginning to less than 33, a big step, as Bloomberg observes, in the direction of the 32-hour goal. A 32-hour week corresponds to 4 days of 8-hour work on a daily basis. According to those conducting the research, this reduction has to do with the fact that businesses have found ways to become more efficient, without making people work more intensively. Not wasting time was achieved by organizing fewer meetings, streamlining communication and emphasizing doing focused work, without distractions.
Furthermore, the researchers concluded that the benefits of switching to a four-day week may strengthen over time rather than the other way around. “I often hear it expressed that the results of our six-month experiment cannot last, because innovation usually wears off. However, a year has passed and the advantages are strengthening, which shows that it is something sustainable”, points out the managing director of 4 Day Week Global in his related report. The participants in the pilot program report an improvement in their physical and mental health, which did not change even after it was completed. And the balance between professional and personal life, a big demand of Western workers, continued to improve. “The positive impact of the four-day week on people's life satisfaction may be something more fundamentally related to their overall well-being rather than just what happens at work,” observes lead researcher Juliet Schorr, a professor at the University of Boston.
Finally, when workers were asked how much they would like to be paid to return to the five-day week, half said big raises, while one in ten said no amount would be enough.