What will a 4-day workweek do for your health?

In the last few years, we have seen a sea change in how we work. The COVID-19 epidemic has forced employees and companies to adopt new work strategies, including working from home or adopting flexible schedules.

Many are now questioning whether a traditional 5-day week is the best option for employee health, productivity and overall well-being. A number of companies are now experimenting with the 4-day workweek in response to this. The results have been fascinating.

Results of a UK Pilot Program

The UK conducted the largest 4-day trial in 2022. It involved 61 companies with approximately 2,900 workers. The purpose of the trial was to reduce work time by a “meaningful” amount for employees, while keeping their wages at 100 %.

Each of the companies that participated in the trial had their own policy on the 4-day week.

The trial was overwhelmingly successful, with 56 out of 61 companies adopting the 4-day week as their permanent policy. 18 of them confirmed it immediately.

The employees reported that their health had improved significantly, with 39% reporting less stress and 71% reporting reduced burnout. The levels of anxiety, fatigue and sleep problems also decreased. Mental and physical health also improved.

54% of employees said it was easier for them to balance their work and household duties. Further, 62% of employees said it was easier to balance work and social life.

Companies reported that their revenue remained roughly the same or even increased by 1,4% over the course of the trial.

During the trial period, the number leaving participating companies fell by 57%.

Health Benefits

What can a 4-day week do for your health and wellbeing? The UK pilot program has shown that there are many benefits.

  • Reduced stress: Employees reported feeling less stress. This can have an impact on their overall health. Chronic workplace stress is linked to heart disease, anxiety, and depression.
  • Reduced burnout. Burnout is an emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by long-term stress. The trial revealed that a 4-day week could reduce burnout levels, and have a positive effect on employee wellbeing.
  • Mental health improved: The trial revealed that a four-day workweek could lead to an improvement in mental health, with reduced anxiety, fatigue and sleep problems. This can improve overall health and wellbeing.
  • Improved work-life balance Employees report finding it easier balance work and family commitments.

It is worth considering if you are a business owner who can implement a 4-day week for your employees.

The 4-day workweek is not suitable for every company or industry, but the results of the new trial, combined with the previous research, suggest it’s worth exploring as a possible strategy to improve employee health and wellbeing, as well improving productivity and profitability for your business.