A movement toward shortening the five-day workweek, which has been the standard in the U.S. for nearly a century, is continuing to pick up steam around the world. The push for a shorter workweek first became trendy earlier on in the pandemic as workplace flexibility gained more traction, and it has been steadily growing in popularity ever since. In San Francisco, a number of companies are experimenting with four-day workweeks to see what kind of impact it has on productivity and retaining and recruiting talent. So far, the results have been overwhelmingly positive, and it’s even led to proposed legislation for a 32-hour workweek from a California lawmaker at the federal level.
The movement has gotten a significant push lately from 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit group that advocates for shortening the workweek, something it says has proved to work for companies and employees and keeps workers happier and less stressed. The organization released a report late last month on the results of a four-day week pilot in the UK that took place between June to December 2022. More than 60 companies and close to 3,000 workers took part in the pilot, which involved a wide range of companies both in size and industry type. Of the companies that participated, 92 percent are keeping the four-day workweek. Results also showed that 71 percent of workers had reduced levels of burnout and 39 percent were less stressed. If a four-day workweek is adopted it would affect the conversation around the return to the office as well, as some companies would surely want employees back in the office to make up for shortened workweek.