- A six-month pilot reduced-hour workweek program of 60 companies has led 91% of participating companies to plan to continue implementing a four-day workweek and 4% to lean toward it, a news release from 4 Day Week Global said.
- During the pilot program, revenue at the companies increased 35% compared to those periods the previous year, 4 Day Week Global said. At the same time, hiring increased and absenteeism decreased.
- “Results are largely steady across workplaces of varying sizes, demonstrating this is an innovation which works for many types of organizations,” Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College, the lead researcher, said in a statement.
A January study by the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, recommended that policies adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as telework and shorter working weeks, “should be made permanent” because of their positive effects on workers.
Dale Whelehan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, wants to test reduced-hour weeks across different industries, countries and political environments and have a multidisciplinary team analyze the data to “such a point that the evidence base becomes unignorable,” he told HR Dive. A behavior scientist, he wants to run programs in fields like healthcare and other complex sectors that “can’t just take a Friday off” and see how economists, gender researchers and sociologists, among others, interpret the data.
Already, 4 Day Week Global has worked with more than 250 companies and led 91 companies and about 3,500 employees through group pilot programs. It recently launched a program in South Africa and plans to have pilots on every continent (except Antarctica) by the end of the year, Whelehan said.
The organization is also expanding its reach to larger companies and working with the public sector to establish policies to incentivize companies to try reduced-hour weeks, he said. One such example is the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, which was reintroduced in Congress March 1 by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), and would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to make a standard workweek 32 hours, after which nonexempt workers would get overtime pay.
“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor, and our laws need to follow suit,” Takano said in a news release. “We have before us the opportunity to make common-sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era.”
Efforts to pass reduced-hour legislation also have been made on the state level. Maryland politicians recently pulled a bill for a shortened workweek in favor of letting the state Department of Labor look into the issue. The bill would have established a pilot program that provided employers with a state income tax credit up to $750,000 each fiscal year if they transitioned at least 30 workers to four-day weeks without cutting pay or benefits.
Companies throughout the U.S., such as Kickstarter, Buffer and Sysco, have adopted shorter workweeks. Making it work means being more efficient, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor said Wednesday during a Washington Post webinar on the future of work.
“There are so many useless meetings that we tend to be in or unnecessary processes that we have,” Taylor said. “You realize that if I cut out these unnecessary meetings, if I'm more focused during my time, I can accomplish just as much or more in a shorter workweek.”
@Everette: There are so many useless meetings that we tend to be in or unnecessary processes that we have. … You realize that if I I cut out these unnecessary meetings, if I'm more focused during my time, I can accomplish just as much or more in a shorter workweek. #postlive— Ginger Christ (@GChristCLE) March 22, 2023