Toward the end of 2022, headlines began to appear praising the arrival of a new way of working. According to Business Insider, “New Research May Have Just Paved the Way for the 4-Day Week.” The study in question was the first large-scale, independent pilot program to test the impact of reducing the workweek to approximately 32 hours without a pay cut.
The two pilots, conducted by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global (4WDG), were based on six-month trials involving 33 companies and a total of 903 employees, primarily in the United States and Ireland. They confirmed a long-held belief: a shorter workweek benefits both employees and employers.
“We knew the results were going to be good,” says 4DWG co-founder Charlotte Lockhart. “The only thing that surprised us was how good they were.” By almost every metric, both employers and employees deemed the new schedule a success.
Lockhard remembered another surprise after further thought: “the statistic around how much you would have to pay people to go back to the old ways,” she said, referring to the nearly 42% who would require a 25-50% salary increase to return to a five-day work week. “Then there were those who said they wouldn’t do it for anything—’ you couldn’t pay me enough,’ they said.”
4 Day Week Global will release the findings of a larger trial conducted last year in the United Kingdom in February. Hundreds of other companies and even governments are experimenting with and adopting the new schedule independently of its pilots.