4-day workweek brings no loss of productivity, companies in experiment say

NEW YORK — Most companies participating in a pilot program involving a four-day workweek in the UK said they saw no loss in productivity during the experiment and in some cases saw a significant improvement, according to one Wednesday (21).

Nearly halfway through the six-month trial in which employees at 73 companies were given one paid day off each week, 35 of the 41 companies that responded to a survey said they would “likely” or “very likely” consider to continue the four-day vacation working week beyond the end of the process in late November. All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either flat or improved. Notably, six companies indicated that productivity had improved significantly.

The talk of a four-day work week has been around for decades. In 1956, then-Vice President Richard Nixon said he saw it in “the not too distant future,” although it had not materialized on a large scale. But the changes in the workplace during the coronavirus pandemic surrounding remote and hybrid work have sparked questions about other aspects of work. Do we work five days a week just because we’ve been doing it that way for well over a century, or is it really the best way?

Also Read :  Community study shows poor health among residents in polluted West Carson – Daily Breeze

“If you look at the impact of the pandemic on the workplace, we’ve often been too focused on where we work,” said Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit group conducting the study with a think tank and researchers from Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. “Remote and hybrid work can bring many benefits, but it doesn’t address burnout and overwork.”

Some company executives in the study said the four-day work week gave employees more time to exercise, cook, spend time with their families and pursue hobbies, increased their well-being, and made them more energetic and productive at work to make clock more productive. However, critics fear additional costs and reduced competitiveness, especially when many European companies are already lagging behind competitors in other regions.

According to Mr Jack Kellam, a researcher at Autonomy, more than 3,300 workers in banking, marketing, healthcare, financial services, retail, hospitality and other sectors in the UK are taking part in the pilot, which is one of the largest studies to date, a think tank that is one the organizers of the process.

At Allcap, one of the companies in the pilot program, it is too early to tell how the reduced workweek has impacted the company’s productivity or bottom line, said Mr. Mark Roderick, the managing director and co-owner of the 40-strong engineering firm and industrial supplies company . Overall, however, employees were happy with the extra day off, and the company considered continuing with it.

Also Read :  PetSmart Partners with Interior Designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent to Launch a New Collection that Brings Style, Beauty and Function to Pet Parents

“Customers haven’t really noticed a difference,” said Roderick, who is based in Gloucester, England.

For Mr Roderick, the new schedule gave him more time to train for a recent Ironman triathlon in Wales. Still, some days are more stressful than they might have been, as summer vacation and the shorter workweek have meant staff can be thinned out. “We were all under a bit of pressure,” he said, using a British expression for “in a difficult situation”.

Similar experiments to those in the UK are being carried out in other countries, mostly in the private sector, including the United States, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. At a trial in Gothenburg, Sweden, officials found employees doing the same amount of work or even more.

Ms Jo Burns-Russell, chief executive of Amplitude Media, a marketing agency in Northampton, England, said the four-day workweek had been such a success that the 12-person company hoped to make it permanent. Employees have found ways to work more efficiently, she said. The result was that the company delivers the same volume of work and continues to grow, even though half of the employees have Wednesdays off and the other half have Fridays off.

Also Read :  Olive Garden Brings Back Never Ending Pasta Bowl

“It’s definitely been good for me not having to constantly ping from thing to thing,” said Ms. Burns-Russell. She has taken up painting as a hobby and feels calmer overall. August is typically a slower month for the company, she said, so the real test will be how the experiment fares in recent months as the company expands, she said.

Gary Conroy, the founder and CEO of 5 Squirrels, a skincare company based in Brighton, England, which is participating in the study, said employees have become more productive, make fewer mistakes and work better together.

“We kind of got away from ‘This is your job, not mine,'” he said, “because we’re all trying to get out of here at 5 a.m. on a Thursday.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Source link