Working 80 per cent of the time, with 100 per cent of the salary? It's very difficult to refuse an opportunity like that, especially if it can be demonstrated that such a reduction in working hours doesn't impact productivity but actually improves work-life balance.
The dream of nearly every worker, implementing a four-day work week, was proposed by 4 Day Work Week Global, a not-for-profit community established to provide a platform for like-minded individuals supporting the idea of a four-day week as part of the future of work. The results of a six-month pilot scheme conducted in Australia and New Zealand showed wide acceptance of the four-day work week, with twenty-six companies participating in the pilot.
The findings of the study were released last Tuesday, revealing that 95 per cent of organisations favoured the reduced schedule, resulting in reduced stress for workers without a decline in productivity. Additionally, companies rated the pilot programme as 8.2 out of 10, expressing satisfaction with the overall productivity and performance.
READ MORE | 4 strategies for embracing ‘Everywhere Work’ in 2023
Regarding employees, 96% expressed their desire to continue with the four-day week once the trial period ended, with two-thirds reporting less exhaustion and a 38% reduction in stress. Most significantly, one in ten workers enjoyed the trial so much that no amount of money would convince them to return to a five-day work week in their future jobs.
For the study's organisers, these findings are extremely encouraging and provide reasons to be optimistic about the future of work. Andrew Barnes, co-founder of 4 Day Work Week Global, described the pilot project as a great success, emphasising that it demonstrated that a four-day week is a viable option for companies as it doesn't compromise productivity or profitability.
Based on the pilot scheme's results, several companies in the region are now planning to meet the demand and retain the four-day week without reducing salaries. RentWest Solutions, an Australia-based company, is among those companies and decided to continue with the four-day week for its staff after the trial period.
"Our main focus was customer experience, and throughout the trial, we assessed it at various checkpoints. Despite our efforts, we found no change in customer experience; in fact, in most cases, it had improved," explained Michelle Rigg, CEO of RentWest Solutions, as reported by 7News. The company joined the pilot project after unsuccessful attempts to implement a four-day week independently.
READ MORE | The office, as we know it, is over: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky
"When people are rested, healthy, happier, and more engaged, they are more productive, regardless of the company or industry," Rigg stated.
The pilot scheme encompassed various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, education, healthcare, and retail. The approach involved a rotating day off, allowing companies to choose the model that best suited them.
Furthermore, the four-day week displayed promising results in terms of gender equality and the environment. In heterosexual relationships, men took on more household chores and childcare responsibilities. According to Barnes, "You can have working parents work five days a week with reduced hours so they can take care of childcare at the same time."