Employees at 61 companies across Britain worked an average of 34 hours across four days between June and December 2022, while earning their existing salary. Of those, 56 companies, or 92%, opted to continue like that, 18 of them permanently.
The trial is the largest in the world, according to Autonomy, a British-based research organization that published the report alongside a group of academics and with backing from New Zealand-based group 4 Day Week Global.
While the findings may be interesting for companies struggling for talent, other surveys show very few other British employers plan a four-day week soon.
The Autonomy trial covered 2,900 staff in total across different sectors, ranging from finance company Stellar Asset Management to digital manufacturer Rivelin Robotics and a fish-and-chip shop in the coastal town of Wells-next-the-sea. The majority agreed productivity had been maintained.
For some employees, the extra day off was more important than pay: 15% said no amount of money would induce them back to a five-day week. Some staff had Wednesdays off, while others had a three-day weekend policy.
Employers from the marketing and advertising, professional services, and charity sectors were most represented in the trial. Some 66% of those participating had 25 or fewer employees, while 22% had 50 or more staff. 11% were not for profit.
The trial reflects growing scrutiny of how people work, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic when furlough schemes and mandatory work-from-home periods prompted many to question whether they needed to sit in an office five days a week.
In recent years, some larger global corporates have trialed a four-day approach and also reported successful outcomes. Microsoft (MSFT.O) piloted it in Japan for a month in 2019 while consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR.L) carried out a year-long trial in New Zealand in 2020.
According to reuters