Work Life

A UK Company Switched To A 4-Day-Workweek And Profits Soared By 29%

While the CEO notes that might not be a direct result of the program, it’s heartening nonetheless.

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A Black woman in glasses sits at her desk, smiling.

The four-day work week is taking the world by storm as workers around the globe strive for work/life balance, demanding more time for themselves and fewer hours at the office. Countries worldwide have trialed the four-day work week — Iceland’s famously successful trial was followed by trials at companies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others — and one company in the U.K. reports that it is already reaping the benefits of one of the largest trials of the 4-day work week to date.

More than 70 companies and 3,300 workers started the world's largest four-day work week trial earlier this month. Employees are working four days per week, an average of around 32 to 35 hours, with no pay cut for six months while researchers collect data about how the extra day off is spent and examine areas such as work/life balance, burnout, and stress, as well as job and life satisfaction.

One of the companies taking part in the trial, a construction staffing firm called Girling Jones, got an early start by implementing a four-day work week back in January as a way to attract new employees. Leadership at the company says it was a smart move and has resulted in a number of positive outcomes for both the company and the employees.

Though the program at Girling Jones initially started as a way to entice new hires, associate director Fiona Blackwell says their motivation has changed. “The reason we're doing it now is that people are happier," Blackwell told Insider. "If your home life is great and you're balancing home life and hobbies, you're going to come into work happier and that's a direct link there…That's why we're doing it now, more than the original reason."

Blackwell explained that since implementing the truncated workweek, employees are more productive than ever. She thinks it's because they’re more motivated to finish projects quickly. “If you don't complete something you need to complete, say on a Tuesday, what's the point of stressing on Wednesday that you have to do it on Thursday?" she said. "So you finish it on Tuesday so you can enjoy your day off…This isn't to say that any of us were lazy before, but you definitely get more out of people from the eight-hour day than you would have previously.”

The company’s profits have also jumped by 29% since June of 2021, which Blackwell admits may not necessarily be because of the shift. But company leadership is pleased nonetheless.

These are just the latest in a string of four-day work week trials with overwhelmingly positive results. Companies who have taken part in trials say their workers are more motivated, less stressed, and their quality of life has improved along with that elusive work/life balance. Right now, 38 U.S. companies are participating in a sister pilot program to the U.K. one, with data being gathered along the way.

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