A six-month experiment examining whether the traditional five-day 40-hour work week is more effective for business, than a four-day 40-hour work week, just ended and the findings confirmed what many already know.
The study was conducted by the non-profit 4 Day Week Global along with researchers at three universities.
The idea for the study grew out of situations during the pandemic, when millions of employees switched to remote or hybrid work.
A period when commuting time was scrapped, meetings became shorter or were done virtually and the question was posed: is the traditional work schedule necessary?
“We just saw people that were burnt out and tired,” Jon Leland, chief strategy officer at Kickstarter said.
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Thirty-three companies with a total of 903 employees signed-up to participate in the trial.
Juliet Schor, the economist and sociology professor at Boston College, said the experiment included requirements that stated there would be no reduction in pay.
“So all employees are still getting their five days pay…and there must be a meaningful reduction in work time,” Schor said.
Organizers of the trial said their study was an overwhelming success.
None of the 27 companies that completed the post-experiment survey said they planned to go back to the five-day work week.
Samantha Losey, managing director at Unity, a PR & social agency, noted the decrease in the number of work days, proved successful.
“The productivity is up, not down from four days versus five,” Losey said. “How can I possibly argue to this building of intelligent human beings that I want to put them back in five days?”
Following the experiment, workers reported lower levels of stress and fatigue and company revenue was higher compared to the year prior.
Some managers also reported having an extra day off, gave their staff more energy to do their job.
“One of the big benefits we’ve seen is just the perspective and almost kind of freshness that people bring to work with them,” Losey said.