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NextGen Magazine


Study Conducted in Four Countries Finds Four-Day Workweeks More Efficient

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 2, 2023


Trials conducted over the past 18 months in four countries have found that working a four-day week at the same pay as a traditional five-day week resulted in many benefits, including working in more efficient ways, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The trials took place in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland over the past 18 months and involved dozens of companies ranging from design agencies to manufacturers and nonprofits.

After six months, workers reported less burnout, improved health and more job satisfaction, and they had cut their average work time by about four hours to 34 hours a week. Those who continued the schedule for a full 12 months reduced working times even further, to about 33 hours a week, researchers told the Journal. Meanwhile, they continued to report better mental and physical health and work-life balance.

Earlier this year, the U.K. pilot project, the largest of its kind to date, found that both workers and companies liked the idea of a four-day, 32-hour work week. Weeks later, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) reintroduced a bill that he first proposed in 2021 that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours per week.

Some employers and policy makers are exploring whether a four-day week can improve employee well-being and loyalty and help them compete for workers, the Journal reported.

Working less than five days a week can provide certain benefits for Americans who choose to do so, and that has many wondering if their lives would be better if they worked less, the Journal reported in April.

Most companies participating in the trials didn’t ask workers to “speed up and cram five days of tasks into four,” said Juliet Schor, an economist and sociologist at Boston College whose team helped conduct the study with the nonprofit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global, in an interview with the Journal. Instead, they reduced meetings and dedicated more time to uninterrupted focus work, she said.

Search Engine Journal, a digital marketing publication. participated in one of the U.S. trials. Chief executive and co-owner Jenise Uehara said that she proposed moving to a four-day workweek last year as some of its three dozen remote employees had become overwhelmed with the increase in work, and turnover was rising. The company eliminated all meetings for a month and then reinstated only the ones deemed really necessary.

Within six months, turnover dropped, productivity remained at its previous level, and clients didn’t notice the business had moved to a four-day week, she told the Journal. The company plans to continue operating on the four-day week, with staff taking Fridays off. 

“We couldn’t keep doing things the same way we’d been doing them,” she said. “We had to figure out a way to work more efficiently.”