Less burnout and fatigue, fewer sick days: What a 4-day pilot workweek reveals about employee health

Judgment has been made. A four-day workweek improves employees’ lives without undermining company goals, at least according to a new study.

Trials in the UK by researchers from Cambridge University and Boston University found that the four-day workweek improved employees’ feelings of burnout and stress, while also reducing the number of sick days and their personal.

Dr David Frayne, a sociologist at the University of Cambridge, said: “We feel really encouraged by the results showing the many ways in which companies have turned the four-day week from a dream into a reality. practical book, with many benefits”. Press Release.

Employees across industries report reduced feelings of anxiety, fatigue and poor sleep, while also improving physical health. 71% of employees said they felt lower levels of burnout and 39% reported lower levels of stress than at the start of the 4-day workweek trial. Overall, the number of sick and individual days was reduced by 65%.

The results replicate previous trials that yielded positive results in other countries. 4 Day Week Global, the nonprofit that helped facilitate the trial, found similar results in their study. United States and Ireland The trial was published in the fall of 2022. Employers reported better work performance and employees reported lower levels of burnout and stress.

“Employees often describe a significant reduction in stress,” said Niamh Bridson Hubbard, researcher and doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at the University of Cambridge. “Many people describe being able to turn off or breathe more easily at home. One person told us how their ‘Sunday fear’ went away.”

The comprehensive UK study included nearly 3,000 employees in compliance with a 20% reduction in weekly working hours between June and December 2022. 61 companies across the UK participated in the reduction in hours. do it in countless ways (not all simply on Fridays off). However, the study’s claim is that the fewer hours worked, the more “meaningful” while employees maintain standard wages.

The researchers also explored how reducing the workweek affects people’s sense of work-life balance when it comes to caregiving responsibilities and free time: 60% said balance work and care is easier, while 62% say work-care balance is easier. Social life. The pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities in mental health and care responsibilities that affect a person’s ability to work to their full potential, according to the press release, the researchers said. Therefore, assessing the overall level of happiness is not only a personal matter, but also a business issue.

This analysis includes in-depth interviews with employees and leaders who spoke before, during, and after the 4-day workweek pilot experience. “I hate the pandemic, but it brought us together more and made us all realize how important Having a healthy head and family is just as important.” in the press release.

While some feared a drop in productivity, the cuts instead gave people the opportunity to cut unnecessary stretch that didn’t support productivity or profit goals. This analysis shows that the reduced workweek has no effect on the company’s revenue—on average, it increased by 1.4% in the industries studied. In previous US and Irish trials, 38% increase in revenue.

“Many employees are very interested in being effective on their own. Long meetings with too many people were cut short or dropped altogether. Brendan Burchell, professor of social sciences and lead researcher at the University of Cambridge, said in a press release.

After the trial ended, 56 of 61 companies decided to continue reducing working hours, with 18 companies making the policy permanent.

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