Most firms would keep 4-day week after trial period

A mid-term survey of firms trialling the four-day work week reveals that the majority believe the pilot is going well

Almost nine in ten companies (86 per cent) trialling the four-day working week would consider extending it beyond the six-month pilot.

A survey gathering opinions of the trial at around the half-way point found that 88 per cent believe it’s working well.

More than 70 organisations across a variety of sectors signed up for the pilot which kicked off back in June. It’s being run by 4 Day Work Week Global, a not-for-profit group, alongside think-tank Autonomy, researchers at Boston College and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the 4 Day Week campaign.

>See also: Would you dare put your firm on a 4-day work week?

The trial covers more than 3,300 workers and a total of 41 companies responded to the mid-term survey. On a scale of one to five indicating how smooth the transition had been, with one indicating ‘very smooth’, 78 per cent rated the transition as either a one or a two. Almost half (46 per cent) said that productivity had remained ‘at around the same level’, 34 per cent reported a ‘slight’ improvement and 15 per cent a ‘significant’ one.

Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said: “We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some there are some understandable hurdles – especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems or cultures which date back well into the last century. 

“While for most organisations the pilot prompts many pleasing discoveries and outcomes – a lot of businesses have more flexibility and nimbleness among their people and teams that leaders often know at the outset – there is friction for others, and this can be based on a variety of factors, many of which can be addressed or substantially improved in the pilot itself.”

What did the 4-day week trialling companies have to say?

Here are what three of the firms said about the pilot so far:

Sharon Platts, chief people officer for Outcomes First Group

The four-day week pilot has been transformational for us so far. We’ve been delighted to see productivity and output increase and have also been able to make it work in our education and care services, which we thought would be far more challenging. While it’s still early days, our confidence in continuing beyond the trial is growing and the impact on colleague wellbeing has been palpable.

Nicci Russell, managing director of Waterwise

We’re proud to be involved in the trial and it’s going well for us. It wasn’t a walk in the park at the start, but no major change ever is.

We have all had to work at it – some weeks are easier than others and things like annual leave can make it harder to fit everything in – but we’re much more settled with it now overall than we were at the start. We managed to incorporate a big media blitz on water efficiency – water efficiency is our bread and butter – over the summer, which added to workload, but we still managed to stick to the four-day week and the standard working hours, and the team are pretty happy. We certainly all love the extra day out of the office and do come back refreshed. It’s been great for our wellbeing and we’re definitely more productive already.

Joe Dance, ecology associate at Tyler Grange

Our work is very seasonal and fast paced. It was pretty tough going at first. I sometimes felt like I was trying to compress six days into four, let alone five.

Along with the rest of The Tribe here, I had to learn to work smarter and in line with the many processes and systems that were introduced at Tyler Grange in the run up to the pilot, all of which helped to make the transition possible.

I’ve well and truly been proven wrong, and life – both professional and personal – is much better, and more balanced and fulfilling, thanks to the move to the four-day week. We all certainly seem calmer and more refreshed on Monday mornings, ready for the working week ahead. Even better, our clients are also happy. I haven’t received any negative feedback at all.

I’m certainly a four-day working week convert and hope that it’s adopted permanently, here at Tyler Grange, when the UK pilot comes to an end in December.

More on the 4-day working week

Four-day week – how it could boost your small business

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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