Job Satisfaction Soars as UK Companies Embrace Four-Day Work Week: Study Affirms

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

A substantial majority of companies participating in the largest-ever trial on a four-day work week continue to allow their employees to work a reduced week, one year post the completion of the six-month trial, with over half making this change permanent, as reported by CNN Business in February 2024.


Between June and December 2022, employees at 61 UK organizations worked 80% of their regular hours, maintaining full pay, while committing to deliver their complete workload.


Companies, on average, decreased working hours by 6.6 hours, resulting in a 31.6-hour workweek.


A minimum of 89% of these companies still upheld the policy as of the end of 2023, and at least 51% formally established the four-day workweek as a permanent arrangement, as indicated by a report from Autonomy


Report Details:


  • The report was released in collaboration with nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities, and Boston College.
  • The trial involved a diverse set of industries, with almost half of the 61 organizations in marketing, advertising, professional services, and the nonprofit sector. 
  • The remainder spanned industries such as construction, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and arts and entertainment.
  • Two companies refrained from supplying responses to the researchers compiling the report.


Report Findings:


  • Reduced working hours have significantly benefited both employees and organizations.
  • Taking full days off, as opposed to being “on call,” proved to be more effective.
  • The outcomes weren’t just due to novelty or short-term effects; instead, they represented authentic and enduring transformations. 
  • Workers reported lasting improvements post-trial in physical and mental health, work-life balance, life satisfaction, and reduced work-related exhaustion, maintained over 2023.
  • Various strategies were employed by organizations to sustain the four-day week, including redefining norms around meetings, work communications, and prioritization. 
  • Leaders from 28 organizations unanimously cited the positive impacts of the four-day work week. Half reported decreased staff turnover, almost a third noted improved recruitment, and 82% highlighted positive effects on staff well-being.


Additional Information:


  • In recent times, demands for a shorter workweek have increased, amplified by the shift to remote work during the pandemic.
  • Global experiments include a 2022 trial across 33 companies primarily based in the United States and Ireland.
  • Germany initiated a substantial trial of a four-day workweek in response to a shortage of labor.
  • Belgian workers secured the entitlement to complete their weekly workload in four days instead of the traditional five, without any reduction in salary, as of February 2022.
  • In February 2024, the Scotland government initiated a trial of a four-day workweek for selected public services.
See All