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UK companies put 4-day workweek to trial, most see no loss of productivity

About half way through the trial, UK companies said they saw no loss of productivity with the 4-day workweek change.
Credit: Dzmitry - stock.adobe.com

WASHINGTON — More than 70 British companies embarked on a six-month trial of a four-day workweek at the beginning of June. Now, about halfway through the pilot program, many said there has been no loss of productivity, according to the survey published Wednesday. 

The trial, which is led by nonprofit organization 4 Day Week Global, has more than 3,300 employees in the United Kingdom getting a paid day off each week.

Mid-trial results were reported by 41 of the participating companies, which showed 88% claiming that the four-day workweek model is working "well" for them, according to the press release. 

The results also demonstrated many companies were likely to continue the four-day workweek beyond the pilot program, with 35 of the 41 companies responding "likely" or "extremely likely."

"The four-day week trial so far has been extremely successful for us. Productivity has remained high, with an increase in wellness for the team, along with our business performing 44% better financially," said Trio Media CEO Claire Daniels in the statement.

A key figure showed 39 out of the 41 companies said their productivity remained the same or improved when implementing the change. Fifteen percent of the companies had reported a significant improvement in productivity.

The trial is conducted with the help of Autonomy, an independent think tank, and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University.

"The organisations in the United Kingdom pilot are contributing real-time data and knowledge that are worth their weight in gold," 4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor said in the press release. "Essentially, they are laying the foundation for the future of work by putting a four-day week into practice, across every size of business and nearly every sector, and telling us exactly what they are finding as they go."

4 Day Week Global isn't the only one tackling the proposed workweek shift, as California introduced a bill in April that aimed at shortening work weeks to 32 hours for large companies with more than 500 employees.

The organization also rolled out pilot programs in New Zealand, Iceland, Canada and the United States, according to the press release.

While most of the outcomes in the mid-trial results were positive, O'Connor also recognized that the shift may be have "some understandable hurdles -- especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems or cultures, which date back well into the last century."

RELATED: The 4-day workweek gains steam — and workers would leave to get it.

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