4 Day Work Week Trial: Insights and Implications for Employers in 2023 hero image shows a journal calendar

4 Day Work Week Trial: Insights and Implications for Employers in 2023

Share this story

Written by: SafeWorkforce
19th May

In 2022, a trial conducted by 4 Day Week Global (a not-for-profit organisation founded in New Zealand),  4 Day Week Campaign, Autonomy, and researchers from the University of Cambridge and Boston College was ran to trial the 4 day work week based on the 100-80-100 model.

The 100-80-100 model consists of 100% pay for 80% of the contracted hours worked but 100% of productivity is maintained.

The 4 Day Work Week Trial

To start their trial, the 4 Day Week Global and 4 Day Week Campaign started recruiting companies and non-profit organisations across the UK. They managed to find 61 companies across a range of sectors from marketing firms, to food retail, to digital manufacturing, to participate and within the 61 companies, 2,900 employees were going to be taking part.

Following the recruitment of participating companies, the 4 Day Week Global and Campaign, provided two months of preparation that consisted of workshops, coaching, mentoring and research/reports done by companies who had already adapted to the 4 day working week method.

The trial then commenced and ran between June and December 2022.

The trail concluded in December 2022 and since then, a report on the findings was published in February 2023. To view the full 4 Day Week Global Report, go to their website and fill in their short-form to be emailed the survey results.

The Results

From the results, we can see that 92% of the companies that participated in the trial have chosen to continue with the 4 day working week.

The overall experience was rated 8.3/10 by companies participating in the trial.

The number of staff leaving fell by 57% during the trial period.

Business performance and productivity both scored 7.5/10 on two separate scales.

As well as the positivity shown in the trial by the continuation of the four-day working week by 92% of the participating companies, the majority of these companies say that productivity levels were maintained and there was a 1.4% average increase in revenue* even though their employees were working 20% less.

Their employees also were positive about the trial and their feedback showed:

90% of employees said they want to continue on a four-day week

15% of employees said no amount of money would make them accept a five-day schedule at their next job.

*revenue facts based on the 23 companies that provided financial data in the trial.

There was even said to be improvements in staff retention and wellbeing, as shown below.

71% of employees had reduced levels of burnout by the end of the trial

39% were less stressed

43% felt an improvement in mental health.

54% said they felt a reduction in negative emotions

37% of employees saw improvements in physical health

46% reported a reduction in fatigue

40% saw a reduction in sleep difficulties.

73% of workers said they had greater satisfaction with their time

60% found an increased ability to combine paid work with care responsibilities

62% reported it was easier to combine work with social life

The time men spent looking after children increased by more than double that of women (27% to 13%).

The 4 day work week: Other Countries participating

Whilst the trial across the UK was running, Scotland also independently trialled a 4 day working week and had a similar wide-range of positive results. In fact, their results meant that the Scottish government pledged to fund further trials throughout 2023 across a more diverse range of businesses.

Ireland also started a six-month trial for the 4 day working week with 4 Day Week Global which began in February 2022 with 20 companies participating.

This now means that a total of 91 companies and roughly 3,500 employees from countries such as Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US and now the UK have participated in the 4 day working week trials ran by 4 Day Week Global. However, even more companies are going to trial this 4 day working week throughout 2023, including countries across Europe, South Africa, Brazil, and North America.

Pros & Cons

Boosts productivityImpractical for certain sectors – emergency services, public transport, logistics
Improved moraleDoesn’t suit all workers
Fewer absencesCan increase costs – overtime, recruiting more staff to cover shortfalls
Helps recruitment – more attractable for people with long-term health conditions, childcare or caring responsibilities, or people over 50. 
Can help tackle unemployment 

What can you do?

As a company, you can decide if this way of working is something that could be considered for your employees.

Despite the trial showing the 100-80-100 model to be successful, there are other ways of adapting to flexible working such as being flexible with the one day off if you implemented a four-day working week, changing the working time to be 5 shorter days rather than 4 days, or changing the hours of work to be longer each day to cover the missing time if only working 4 days a week.

If you are interested in trialling a 4 day working week for your business, then please contact SafeWorkforce for advice. We can advise on flexible working requests, flexible working trials, and what to do if a flexible working request/trial isn’t feasible.