The test of the proposal to reduce the working day to four days a week without a decrease in wages was a success in the United Kingdom. 91% of companies that participated in the six-month trial want to keep the model. Another 4% are inclined to maintain, and only 4% of companies have ruled out continuing the four-day week.
The pilot program in the United Kingdom involved 61 companies from different sectors and almost 3,000 workers between July and December 2022 (download the complete study results here). The test was conducted by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global (Four Day Week Global, in free translation), together with the 4 Day Week UK campaign and research organization Autonomy. In addition to better well-being and free time for workers, the proposal can help reduce unemployment and protect the environment.
Companies adopt a 32-hour week, which is the equivalent of four 8-hour days. Employers who join receive support in the form of workshops and webinars from experts and direct mentoring from organizations that have already successfully implemented the 4-day week.
On average, companies gave the overall experience an 8.5 on a scale of 0 to 10. Productivity and business performance received a 7.5. Revenues grew 35% in the months of the test, when compared to a similar period of the previous year. There were more hires and employee absenteeism decreased.
Read too: Four-day work week can reduce carbon emissions by 20%, says activist
The researcher responsible for the test, Juliete Schor, a professor at Boston College, celebrates the little variation in data between companies. “The results are generally consistent across workplaces of various sizes, demonstrating that this is an innovation that works for many types of organizations,” she says.
“But there are also some interesting differences. We noticed that non-profit workers and specialist contractors saw the greatest increase in time spent exercising, while those working in construction or industry saw the greatest reductions in burnout (exhaustion) and trouble sleeping.”
Among the benefits for workers, the survey records a decrease in reports of stress in the workplace: 39% of the people surveyed said they felt that their stress level had decreased, against 13% who said that stress had increased and 48% who did not notice it. changes. Furthermore, 48% of people said they were more satisfied with their jobs than before the test.
One of the most reported gains was in the balance between paid work and the demands of housework and care: 60% of people reported feeling that it was easier to balance both ends.
“You have no idea what this means to my family – the amount of money we’re going to be able to save on childcare,” said a nonprofit worker quoted by the survey anonymously.
In the same vein, conflicts between work and time with family decreased: 54% of workers reported being less likely to feel too tired to do housework – before the test, only 10% reported this situation.
The survey also sought to find out whether the change would bring benefits to the division of domestic work between genders. In fact, men reported having increased their time dedicated to household chores more than women: 27% against 13%. However, 68% of people reported no changes in the division of workload between men and women in their homes.
The new CEO of 4 Day Week GlobalDale Whelehan, cites other gender outcome differences detected in the study.
“Men and women benefited from the four-day week, but women’s experience is generally better. burnout, satisfaction with life and work, mental health and reduction of time in transport. Encouragingly, the burden of non-work-related duties outside the home appears to be balanced out more, with more men taking on a greater share of housework and childcare.”
With the UK result, the Four Week Global reached 91 companies and approximately 3,500 workers who participated in pilot programs around the globe, including countries such as Ireland, Canada, the United States and New Zealand.
In the coming weeks, the organization is expected to release the results of the test being carried out in Australia. Experiments are also under development in South Africa, Brazil and other European countries, with results expected in the coming months.
Brazil: historical claim
The reduction of working hours without decreasing wages is a historic claim of the Brazilian trade union movement. It is present in the Working Class Agenda, a document approved during the National Working Class Conference (Conclat), which took place in April 2022, convened by ten trade union centrals. On the issue of working hours, the agenda proposes: “Establish working hours at up to 40 hours per week, without salary reduction and with control over overtime, eliminating precarious forms of flexible working hours”.
In the format of reduction to four days a week, the proposal was included in the agenda of bank employees’ claims, in their wage campaign last year.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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