Four-day week trial hailed a success for businesses and workers

Nearly all of the companies that took part in a trial of the four-day working week have decided to keep the policy after finding a strong increase in wellbeing at no cost to productivity.

Nine in 10 (92%) of the organisations that participated in the 4 Day Week Campaign trial have decided to maintain the four-day week, according to a study of the trial by think tank Autonomy, the University of Cambridge and Boston College.

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Across the test group, more than two-thirds (71%) of employees reported lower levels of burnout and there was a 65% reduction in the number of sick days taken.

Employees were 57% less likely to quit, and revenues rose by 1.4% across the six-month test.

Citizens Advice Gateshead was among the trial organisations. With more than 200 staff spread over more than 50 projects that deliver services both remotely and in the community, the non-profit had a challenging task in changing its working pattern, according to chief operating officer Paul Oliver.

Implementing the trial in three waves over 12 weeks helped to smooth the transition.

Speaking to HR magazine, Oliver said: “Each wave benefitted from the learning and experiences of those who had gone earlier.

“The benefits to your people and their work/life balance are there to see, and we are definitely a more finely tuned operation because of the productivity measures we’ve implemented.

“The feedback from our staff on how they are finding it has been overwhelmingly positive, which is supported by the employee survey results."

The company has now extended the trial for another six months to track its impact more closely.

Trio Media, a 13-strong digital marketing agency has likewise extended the trial for another six months so that the company can fine tune the policy to its needs.

Speaking to HR magazine, CEO Claire Daniels said: “Generally everything went really well and was a great success for us.”

While the firm did not have many metrics in place, Daniels said she found revenue to be its clearest performance indicator as it jumped 33% compared with the six months before the trial, and 47% compared with the same half of the previous year.

She added: “Productivity has remained high, employee wellbeing has increased and we haven't had any sick days or resignations during the period. We have been able to hire four new people in a competitive marketplace.”

Daniels said she would recommend the working model to employers looking to disrupt the world of work and give their employees a better work/life balance.

“The key is to be open to changing your mindset, that is the biggest requirement for achieving success with the four-day week. Not just for management, but for employees as well,” she said.

The results of the trial are to be presented to MPs at the House of Commons today (21 February).

Charlotte Lockhart, co-founder and managing director of 4 Day Week Global said the trial had been a resounding success.

She said: “It is encouraging to note that the results largely mirror the outcomes from our earlier trials in Ireland and the US, further strengthening the arguments for a four-day week.”