Future of work | Will the 4-day week be the next big thing in the US?

Will the 4-day week be the next big thing in the US?

A recent study suggests that the four-day workweek model could revolutionize productivity and happiness in the workplace.

After a one-year trial involving 61 companies within Europe, a staggering 89% of them opted to continue the four-day workweek structure.

The study, led by the think tank Autonomy alongside the 4-Day Week Campaign and 4-Day Week Global, showed promising results, with increased efficiency, happier employees, and lower turnover rates being reported.

The pilot study, which began as a six-month trial, extended to the one-year mark, with some companies even making the change permanent. Participants agreed to complete 100% of the usual workload in 80% of the time worked, effectively shortening the workweek to 32 hours with no reduction in pay.

According to follow-up surveys with managers and CEOs of the participating companies, 100% reported a positive impact on their organization.

Additionally, 82% of companies noted positive impacts on staff well-being, 50% observed reductions in staff turnover, and 32% reported improvements in recruitment.

The benefits of the four-day workweek extended beyond the workplace, with staff members reporting improvements in physical and mental health, work-life balance and overall life satisfaction.

Reductions in burnout were also noted, indicating a positive impact on employee well-being both in and out of the office.

Looking ahead, public sentiment seems to be in favor of the four-day workweek becoming the standard by 2030, according to a poll commissioned by the 4-Day Week Campaign.

Internationally, the concept has gained traction, with countries like Spain, Iceland, and South Africa implementing trials of the four-day workweek for select companies and workers.

While the success of the four-day workweek is evident in some sectors, questions remain about its feasibility across all industries.

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Eric Loomis, a Professor and Labor Historian at the University of Rhode Island, pointed out challenges in translating the model to low-wage professions, where physical presence is often required.

Despite these challenges, there is growing interest in the four-day workweek in the US.

Several states, including Massachusetts and California, have introduced legislation to promote shorter workweeks, albeit with varying degrees of success. However, the prospect of federal legislation enshrining a four-day workweek standard remains uncertain.

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