Report of The Largest 4-Day Workweek Trial Shows Some Good News


After all the fun playing mahjong with relatives and binging movies on Netflix during the Chinese New Year Holidays, many of us find ourselves trudging back to the office for another hectic week of work ahead.

Fortunately, for those hoping for a four-day workweek, the world is slowly beginning to see the merit of that idea.

In fact, some companies in the UK are making it a permanent addition to their company policy after participating in the world’s biggest trial involving a four-day working week.

How One Trial Changed the Mindsets of Companies Across the UK

While many believe that the four-day workweek is a relatively recent concept, US President Richard Nixon actually advocated for a four-day working week back in 1965 to improve the family lives of working Americans.

However, it is only recently that objective studies have come to analyse the effects that a four-day workweek would have on the performance of employees and, by extension, the performance of the company.

One significant trial was conducted in Iceland between 2015 and 2019, with researchers highlighting how the well-being and work-life balance of employees increased dramatically.

Similar trials held within the companies of New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian and Japan’s Microsoft offices also reported an increase in the productivity of employees with little negative impact on the company’s revenue.

The UK decided to kick things up a notch by introducing the largest-ever trial involving a four-day working week, inviting 61 companies to take part in a six-month pilot study in 2022.

A comprehensive report of the study published in 2024 found that 54 companies still practised the four-day working week, with 31 firms having switched to a four-day working week permanently.

According to the report, a separate follow-up study in 2023 reported that 100% of project managers and CEOs said that “a four-day week had a positive impact on their organisation”, with 55% describing the work week as having a very positive impact on the company. Staff were also less burned out and had a better work-life balance.

Fingers crossed, more companies in Singapore will catch wind and test out a four-day work week, too.

Certain Limitations in Some Company Policies May Result In Greater Stress

However, before you pack your bags to leave for a working holiday in the UK, think twice.

As it turns out, not all companies in the study have the same idea of how a four-day workweek should be implemented.

Since a four-day workweek can result in scheduling conflicts, not every company can afford to have employees work four-day workweeks all the time. Hence, some companies may need you to jump a couple of hoops to even be considered for one.

For companies with a highly conditional four-day working week, employees were found to have more difficulty planning activities on their day off, were more stressed at work and resentful of their colleagues.

But still, just remember this: before 2004, working half-day on a Saturday was the norm.


It’s 2024 this year #justsaying