A four-day working week trial has proved a resounding success among Irish companies.
Companies in Ireland, as well as the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, that gave their staff an extra day off per week with no reduction in pay experienced increased revenue alongside reduced absenteeism and resignations, according to research published on November 30.
The research further found that workers felt less stressed and burnt out, and reported higher rates of life satisfaction.
Findings also showed significant declines in the duration and frequency of commuting, plus other positive environmental outcomes.
None of the participating organizations are returning to a five-day week.
The research was published after more than 30 companies and almost 1,000 employees in countries including Ireland recently concluded a six-month 4-day week pilot program, coordinated by non-profit 4 Day Week Global.
Among the Irish companies that took part in the trial were engineering firm Allied Consultant Engineering; not-for-profit Codema; performance management company Frankli; business services company Optimum; recruitment company, Rent a Recruiter; manufacturing company Soothing Solutions; business consultancy Stillwater; IT service providers Typetec.
The results of our 1st #4DayWeek pilot program are in!
📈Companies rated the experience 9/10— 4 Day Week Global (@4dayweek_global) November 30, 2022
🏆None are returning to a 5 day week
💰Revenue rose 38% on same period in previous year
🙏97% of employees want to continue
⚕️Overall health & wellbeing improvedhttps://t.co/AhXg6BrSVk
Companies rated the trial a 9.0 out of 10, expressing extreme satisfaction with their overall productivity and performance.
Revenue increased by more than a percentage point each month, with a total rise of 8% during the trial. When compared to the same six months in 2021, it rose by 38%.
Employees also rated the pilot highly, with 97% saying they want to continue on a 4-day week.
When asked about the monetary value of their extra day off, 70% said their next job would need to offer between 10 to 50% more pay for them to go back to a five-day schedule, with over one in ten saying no amount of money could make them go back.
The health and well-being of participants also improved, as Associate Professor Wen Fan of Boston College explains: “A wide range of well-being metrics showed significant improvement, including stress levels, burnout, fatigue and work-family conflict.
"Physical and mental health also improved, alongside satisfaction across multiple domains of life which may be linked to people getting better sleep and more exercise,” she said.
Lead researcher, Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College, noted an important outcome: “We were encouraged that participants did not experience an increase in the intensity of work.
"This suggests that the work re-organization strategy succeeded and performance was not achieved via speedup, which is neither sustainable nor desirable,” she said.
Speaking about their experience on the trial, pilot participant Jon Leland, Chief Strategy Officer at crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, said: “The 4 day week has been transformative for our business and our people.
"Staff are more focused, more engaged, and more dedicated, helping us hit our goals better than before. Greater employee retention and faster hiring has been surprisingly powerful in driving improved business outcomes too. We're achieving more as an organization, while giving people time to start new creative projects, rest, and be with their families. It's a true win-win.”
Rod Lacey, Chief People Officer at software company simPRO, added: “After transitioning to this new way of working, we found that by truly taking care of our employees, listening to them and showing them that their input and work is valued, it comes back to simPRO every day by way of dedicated commitment, retention, and exceptional customer service and support.”
Reflecting on the journey so far, 4 Day Week Global co-founder, Charlotte Lockhart believes this is only the beginning: “When our co-founder Andrew Barnes and I first witnessed the benefits of the 4 day week in 2018, we knew we had to share our learnings.
"The results laid out in this report further prove what we already know and we look forward to expanding this research over the coming months, as other organizations from a range of industries and economies make the switch to reduced-hour, output-focused working.
"Change is imminent and I commend all involved in this trial for making history happen."
You can see the report on the first 4 Day Week Global pilot program here.