Momentum behind the four-day work week is snowballing (at last!), with the first Canadian pilot program with Boston College releasing positive results today: Revenue increased by 15% in companies who adopted the four-day work week.
The findings might peak the interest of CEOs, business leaders and HR managers, as it showed a staggering 100% success rate with all 41 participating companies planning to or leaning towards maintaining their work time reduction policy beyond the trial.
The report compares employee experiences of a group of small-to-medium sized American and Canadian companies from baseline (pre-trial) to 12 months after their four-day week launched. This is the longest study currently available on the topic. During the trial, the average weekly number of hours worked was reduced to the target of 32 hours.
As well as a 15% increase in revenue among the participant companies during the trial, businesses scored both productivity and performance a 7.7/10 in separate scales. The results show a reduction in weekly working hours was a win-win proposition for both the employer and employees, with respondents citing numerous health and lifestyle benefits including 40% saying they felt less stressed on a four-day work week.
Opportunity to Attract and Retain Top Talent, Creator Says
Businesses which struggle with talent recruitment and retention need to listen up, cycle-to-work schemes and a free lunch once a quarter just isn't going to cut it in today's competitive employment market.
Employees are increasingly looking for companies that fit in with their lifestyle, and it's not all about salary.
It was Irishman Joe O’Connor who pioneered the four-day work week pilot program in 2021. He began global trials in 2022 and is now the head of Canadian-based Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence (WTR-CoE). O'Connor designed this latest trial in partnership with Boston College, non-profit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global.
Joe O’Connor shares how it’s not simply a reduction in working hours that lead to the positive result from the four-day work week trials, but a commitment to operational excellence and a culture of continuous improvement.
It takes a lot of hard work to create more productive and efficient businesses that can afford to offer their employees such an important and attractive benefit. He said “the evidence is in – shorter working weeks lead to happier and healthier employees, and the organizations that they work for are better positioned to attract and retain talent.”
O’Connor continues, “There's a real and significant opportunity for ambitious, imaginative leaders to be at the forefront of this change and differentiate themselves from the competition.”
Reduction of Working Hours Better for Mind, Body & Soul
The results showed that 95% of employees wanted to continue the four-day work week. And there’s no wonder why, as the benefits for employees are obvious and abundant, from increased time with family and friends, more time to indulge in self-care and physical activity, and catch up on much needed Z’s.
The study found that burnout was reduced by 17%, while mental and physical health improved by 17% and 12% respectively. Interestingly, fewer people commuted by car during the trial. In fact 42% of employees did more environmentally friendly activities during the trial, such as recycling, buying eco friendly items and walking and cycling, rather than driving.
Study participants also reported a 16% increase in life satisfaction in general and work-life balance naturally improved by 35% with work-to-family and work-to-life conflicts both significantly reduced, meaning participant employees got to enjoy spending more time with loved ones.