Huge Study Touts Benefits of 4-Day Workweek. Would it Fly in Montana?
Will a four-day workweek ever become commonplace in the US?
A massive, six-month experiment involving nearly 3,000 employees and 61 companies was recently completed in the UK. The project involved researchers from around the globe, including Boston College and the University of Cambridge, and included businesses of various types from office work to construction. It was the world's largest four-day workweek pilot program. The results were quite interesting.
The participating companies were allowed to structure their shorter work-week in various ways, including reducing their working days in a year (to average out to 32 hours per week) or giving an extra day off per week. The only major stipulation was that pay and benefits were not cut.
Happier, more productive employees? Imagine that!
Not surprisingly, the research indicated employees were much happier, healthier, and less likely to quit. They found,
...knocking 20 percent off of weekly work hours leads to employees taking 65 percent fewer sick days and 57 percent fewer staff quitting. On average, staff working four-day weeks are also 71 percent less likely to “burnt out” and 39 percent less stressed, versus how they felt at the start of the six-month trial.
Companies that participated in the experiment also noted a slight increase in revenue during the duration of the project (up 1.4%). Of the 61 companies that participated, 92% say they plan to keep the new work schedule.
More to life than work, sleep, die.
I've been working full-time since I graduated high school, usually far more than 40 hours per week. Montanans are proud of our work ethic and there is certainly nothing wrong with working hard to achieve your goals.
But if we can crank out the same volume of work, be more productive, less sick, not burnt out, and get a three-day weekend 52 times per year, who would be opposed? Employers would be my guess. Most employees in European countries work between 33 and 35 hours per week, and Australians average just 32. On a related note, 175 schools in Montana have now switched to 4-day school weeks.