Why shift to a 4-day week? Given the current labour shortage and related challenges of attracting and retaining employees in 2023, it’s easy to see why the 4-day week is a hot topic.
The 4-day week is the new gold standard in employee benefits and its advantages for employees and employers undeniable. Pilot projects with about 100 companies and 3,000 employees were conducted in 2022 in Canada, Ireland, the UK and the US. After only six months, the projects had already yielded conclusive results.
The most important findings included a higher happiness and health index among employees and equal or even greater profitability for the employer.
In this article, we present three facets of the 4-day week and the findings of our 8-week pilot project.
- Measurable and concrete benefits for employees and companies
- Two ways you can implement the 4-day week in your company
- How to integrate this new reality into your HR marketing
- The results of the 2023 pilot project at Webit
Measurable and concrete benefits for employees and companies
In the Toronto Star’s coverage of the 4-day week for Canadian workers, the solution is simple and addresses a broad societal problem: growing employee fatigue and frustration.
It’s well known that, in many sectors, when an employee leaves, their position isn’t filled quickly. As a result, everyone must work twice as hard to compensate for the lack of staff.
Giving back to everyone what is most valuable, namely time, is a concrete response to the quest for true work/life balance.
With three days free, employees can rest and enjoy more activities with their family, partners and friends. Results from pilot projects in North America, the UK and Ireland show that the change is worth its weight in gold.
4-day week: positive effects on employees
Happier, less stressed and having better mental health – that’s how the employees lucky enough to be part of the pilot project conducted by 4 Day Week Global in Canada and the United States felt. Indeed:
- Nearly three-quarters of them said they experienced a decrease in fatigue/exhaustion
- More than one-third said they were less stressed
- Almost 50% said they were more satisfied with their work
Introducing a shorter work week has also led to a reduction in sick leave and departures while maintaining and even increasing productivity. Participating companies have even seen an increase in profitability, ranging from 1.4% to over 34%.
More than 9 out of 10 companies chose to maintain the 4-day week at the end of the pilot project, given the:
- Significant reduction in absenteeism
- Significant improvement in employee retention
- Increased motivation and productivity
- Increased economic output
Two ways you can implement the 4-day week in your company
You have two options for implementing the 4-day week in your company.
- Removing a day from the work week while maintaining employee salaries.
- Condensing working hours to 4 or 9 days (1 Friday off every 2 weeks).
You need to think carefully about these options and select the one that best suits your business model. Keep in mind that despite the best intentions, the 4-day week means that your services are unavailable on Fridays.
On the other hand, extending the working day to take advantage of a Friday off may not be suitable for everyone, particularly when trying to achieve work/life balance. Therefore, offering the choice of spreading the schedule over two weeks to get one out of every two Fridays off remains a viable option.
How to integrate this new reality into your HR marketing?
You’ve seen the phenomenon for yourself. Since the pandemic, some companies have laid off employees, and people left their jobs in droves. The pandemic and the current state of the economy made many people rethink their priorities, including the place of work in their lives.
Wellness has become a key priority, and work benefits that contribute to it have become increasingly attractive to employees. Therefore, working less is integral to any strategy to attract and retain new talent.
As a company, you must get creative if you want to add the 4-day week to your benefits package, no matter the option you choose:
- Let employees bank hours to offer more vacation
- Build a schedule to offer reduced summer hours
- Maintain a 5-day week to offer a flexible 32-hour schedule
The results of the 2023 pilot project at Webit
We tested this approach during an 8-week pilot project at the beginning of the year. We started by drawing lots to select a sampling of participants. In so doing, we were able to establish comparative data on productivity compared to non-participants.
We chose the condensed 4-day schedule. Participants could spread their working hours over 4 or 9 days to get one Friday off every week or every two weeks.
The experience was very rewarding, and when it was over, we realised that it was indeed as beneficial for the employees as it was for the company.
Pilot project takeaways:
- 70% of the participants were satisfied to very satisfied with the pilot project (the experience)
- 84% saw an improvement in their work/life balance
- 100% were more productive than non-participants during this period
One of the highlights was greater productivity, with participants boosting their performance by almost 7% over the course of the pilot project.
- To everyone's delight, we immediately adopted reduced work hours (permanent summer hours).
- We are taking steps to adopt a permanent 4-day week as soon as possible.
Want to take advantage of our fabulous working conditions? Visit our Careers page to see our currently available positions.
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