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6 Reasons Why a Four-Day Week Is Right for Your Business

6 Reasons Why a Four-Day Week Is Right for Your Business

The seductive principle of “Work smarter, not harder” has become a mantra incorporated into the core business strategy of many organizations. While many business leaders find change hard to accept, mounting evidence argues that companies need to turn their backs on the traditional nine-to-five workday and transition to a four-day workweek. Within this context, what does the future of work look like?

How the World of Work is Changing

The COVID-19 pandemic may have paved the way for a new workweek revolution. The World Economic Forum’s predictions for the future of work provide more evidence to support the statement and indicate that broad trends such as automation and digitization would soon lead to two-fifths of the global workforce operating remotely. Not only that, but many companies would implement flexible working structures for employees. To test and verify the hypothesis, researchers from a not-for-profit organization, 4 Day Week Global have run a six-month trial of the four-day workweek on over 3.300 employees across 71 U.K. companies. Results from the world’s largest four-day week trial have been recently released and showed great benefits.

1. A Shorter Workweek Resulted in Less Burnout and Stress

Stress at work is common. From excessive workloads to overtime work due to staff cutbacks, employees ride a daily emotional rollercoaster. A turbulent environment has been shown to lead our body to release 2 times higher levels of cortisol than it would on a weekend. Chronic stress and long-term exposure to cortisol can cause a range of physical and mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or a weakened immune system. The results of the UK’s four-day-week experiment suggested that 71% of workers reported lower levels of exhaustion. Similarly, 39% of them suffered less stress at the end of the trial.

2. Better Work-Life Balance

It is easier to switch off from work and let go of problems if the working patterns are adapted to suit employees’ needs. Based on the results of the trial phase, 62% of UK employees trying the four-day workweek said it was easier to combine work with social life. Participants declared that they now have more time to engage in social and productive activities they enjoy, such as sports and cooking, and they picked up new hobbies or got professional qualifications.

3. Reduced Sickness Absence

The UK report noticed that employee absenteeism dropped from 2 days a month to 0.7. On the one hand, this phenomenon can be explained by a lower probability of illness falling on a workday. On the other hand, there is enough scientific evidence from research papers to back up the claim. Scholars proved that elevated cortisol contributes to disease development and a compromised immune system. Yet, getting good sleep can strengthen the immune system of an individual naturally.

4. Improved Morale and Life Satisfaction

Findings from the UK’s four-day workweek study reveal that 73% of employees reported increased satisfaction with their lives, including financial success or supportive relationships. “Everyone is focused, everyone knows what they’re doing, everyone is refreshed,” commented Kirsty Wainwright, general manager of one of the participating companies. A structured schedule creates clarity, leading employees to feel valued and listened to by their employers.

5. Increased Employee Retention

For many workers, a four-day week translated to lower turnover and quit rates. The UK’s four-day working week pilot showed that 57% of businesses found it easier to identify and retain highly skilled talent with shorter hours. Given that employees today demand flexibility tailored to their specific needs, it is no surprise that being given the ability to build a schedule that works best for themselves, and their families are one of the top job perks that convince employees to stay in a company.

6. Higher Work Engagement Among Employees Contributed to Revenue Growth

While some initially raised concerns that employees who work 35 hours across 4 days will show decreased levels of productivity, a shortened schedule instead reduced the chances of employees being disturbed with unnecessary tasks. The trial in Britain has demonstrated that 49% of the workforce was actively engaged and reported high levels of productivity. During this period, many companies chose to move to shorter meetings or experimented with “meetings-free” days. Consequently, employees were less inclined to waste time and actively sought out resources that could help them meet the objectives of their roles. In comparison to the previous year, the companies’ revenue rose 35% on average. Working in a supportive environment allows employees to accomplish more with less work.

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