Conversations around the four-day workweek were first reignited by the COVID-19 pandemic, with workers and employers rethinking the importance of workplace flexibility and benefits.
New Zealand took the lead in this regard. Results from the New Zealand trial showed strong results against business targets, including revenue growth, with the vast majority of staff reporting feeling engaged, and absenteeism dropping 34%.
The global studies were followed by major city-wide and national trials.
According to information published by the World Economic Forum; lastly, Spain’s third largest city Valencia, a pilot program trialed a four-day week by scheduling local holidays on four consecutive Mondays throughout April and May 2023.
The new temporary working week affected around 360,000 workers, who used the additional downtime to do sporting activities, relax and prepare meals, according to an independent commission of health and science experts tasked with evaluating the program’s impact.
Results showed people in the program had higher self-perceived health status, reduced levels of stress, were less tired and felt happier and more personally satisfied.
The drop in commuting also led to a reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions and improved air quality.
What about employee engagement?
Implementing a four-day working week has been shown in multiple trials to boost employee engagement and commitment to an employer by 20%.
Documented trials have also shown no reduction in productivity with a four-day working week – in fact there are often improvements to it. When there are fewer hours available in which to complete tasks and projects, workers are better able to stay focused and engaged on the tasks at hand. The work-life balance drastically shifts. Implementing a four-day workweek enables your people to accomplish a whole lot more outside of work. An additional day off means more time with family, catching up on household chores, caring for kids, and making medical appointments, or extra time to work on hobbies, exercise, or learn a new skill.