The first large-scale study of a four-day workweek has come to a startling close: Not one of the 33 participating companies is returning to a standard five-day schedule.

Data released Tuesday show the organizations involved registered gains in revenue and employee productivity, as well as drops in absenteeism and turnover. Workers on a four-day schedule also were more inclined to work from the office than home.

“This is important because the two-day weekend is not working for people,” said lead researcher Juliet Schor, an economist and sociologist at Boston College who partnered with counterparts at University College Dublin and Cambridge University. “In many countries, we have a workweek that was enshrined in 1938, and it doesn’t mesh with contemporary life. For the well being of people who have jobs, it’s critical that we address the structure of the work week.”

The study is the first from a series of pilots coordinated by the New Zealand-based nonprofit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global and involving dozens of companies in ongoing six-month pilots. A U.S. and Canadian trial began last month, and a pilot of mostly European and South African organizations begins in February. With each iteration, the researchers will adjust their data collection, including long-term tracking of how organizations fare with lighter schedules. 4 Day Week Global doesn’t fund the research.

The initial data were collected from businesses and organizations in the U.S., Ireland and Australia, tracking 969 employees over a 10-month period as they reduced their workweeks by an average of six hours with no change in pay. They varied from a restaurant chain in the southwest U.S. to an Ohio-based custom RV builder to a climate nonprofit in Dublin.

Dozens of indicators, ranging from productivity to well being to fatigue, all improved as the companies transitioned. The findings come at a time when businesses and their employees are struggling to recover from the pandemic, with ongoing high rates of burnout, stress and fatigue.

Organizational performance measures were strong. Revenue rose about 8% during the trial and was up 38% from a year earlier, indicating healthy growth through the transition. Though multicompany measures of productivity are difficult, the organizations rated the impact of four-day schedules as positive, averaging 7.7 on a 10-point scale. Employee absenteeism dropped from 0.6 days a month to 0.4, while resignations marginally dropped and new hires increased slightly. Companies rated the overall experience a 9 out of 10.

“The benefits are significant and outweigh the marginal efforts it takes to engage in this change.”

“We definitely saw much higher engagement levels among staff—higher than we’ve ever recorded,” said Jon Leland, chief strategy officer at the crowd-funding company Kickstarter, which finished its pilot in September and permanently adopted a four-day schedule for its 100 or so employees. “We’ve also had much higher retention, as well as faster and easier hiring, which are probably the three most impactful factors on our overall productivity.”

Leland said Kickstarter employees are more committed to staying long term with the new schedule, and that as an executive who needs to work more than four days, he personally has found it much easier to squeeze in some office-related tasks over the three-day break.

“The benefits are significant and outweigh the marginal efforts it takes to engage in this change,” he said.

Not everyone believes a four-day workweek is desirable or feasible, and some question whether employers who offer four-day schedules or its cousin, unlimited paid time off, truly want their employees offline.

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