Making It Stick: The UK 4-Day Week Pilot One Year On | University of Cambridge, University of Salford, and Autonomy Research

Workforce Trends

In February 2023, a team of social scientists from the University of Cambridge, working with academics from Boston College, published a paper on the results of a 6-month trial study on the 4-day workweek. The study, which is the largest of its kind, involved 61 UK organizations. The results showed that the 4-day workweek resulted in a 1) 20% reduction in working time with no loss of pay, 2) significant drops in workforce stress and sick days, 3) an increase in worker retention, 4) a much better work-life balance for most employees, 5) while ‘key business metrics’ were met. As a one-year follow-up to that paper, the research team has just published a new 50-page report providing updates from the study. A few include: 1) at least 54 out of the original 61 pilot participants have continued with the 4-day week (89%), 2) At least 31 have confirmed that the policy has been made permanent, 3) 100% of managers and CEOs said that the four-day week had a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ impact on their organization. Specifically, 82% of surveyed companies reported positive impacts on staff well-being, 50% saw positive effects on reducing staff turnover, and 32% said the policy had noticeably improved their recruitment. While recognizing that the 4-day workweek may not be feasible for all organizations, these empirical insights can offer valuable considerations for those contemplating this flexible work arrangement.