In June 2022, 61 organizations in the UK began a six-month trial reducing working hours by 20% for all staff with no decrease in wages. Results of the trial show that there was a significant reduction in stress and illness in the workforce with a 65% reduction in sick days and a 57% decrease in staff leaving participating companies compared to the previous year. Company revenue remained stable during the trial period. 92% of companies intend to continue the four-day working week, with 18 companies confirming the change as permanent, according to a report of the findings presented to UK lawmakers.
Sixty-one organizations in the UK committed to a 20% reduction in working hours for all staff, with no fall in wages, for six months starting in June 2022. The vast majority of companies also retained full-time productivity targets. Now, results from the world’s largest trial of a four-day working week reveal significantly reduced rates of stress and illness in the workforce – with 71% of employees self-reporting lower levels of “burnout,” and 39% saying they were less stressed, compared to the start of the trial.
There was a 65% reduction in sick days, and a 57% fall in the number of staff leaving participating companies, compared to the same period the previous year. Company revenue barely changed during the trial period – even increasing marginally by 1.4% on average.
In a report of the findings presented to UK lawmakers, some 92% of companies that took part in the UK pilot program (56 out of 61) say they intend to continue with the four-day working week, with 18 companies confirming the change as permanent.
Companies from across the UK took part, with around 2,900 employees dropping a day of work. Organizations involved in the trial ranged from online retailers and financial service providers to animation studios and a local fish-and-chip shop. Other industries represented include consultancy, housing, IT, skincare, recruitment, hospitality, marketing, and healthcare.
Researchers surveyed employees throughout the trial to gauge the effects of having an extra day of free time. Self-reported levels of anxiety and fatigue decreased across workforces, while mental and physical health improved. Many survey respondents said they found it easier to balance work with both family and social commitments: 60% of employees found an increased ability to combine paid work with care responsibilities, and 62% reported it easier to combine work with social life.