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The results are in. The four-day workweek looks set to become the new workplace model that could help companies and organizations transform their office culture, giving employees better work-life balance and greater job satisfaction.
Following one of the taste the world’s largest four-day work weekthe results showed that employees experienced less burnout and a better work-life balance, while companies noticed an increase in productivity and turnover.
The trial, which was organized by 4 Day Week Global (4DWG), a non-profit organisation, involved approximately 3,000 employees in 61 companies across the UK. Organizers claim that about 92% of the 61 participating companies have continued with the four-day work week since the end of the trials, which began in June 2022.
The concluding results showed that about 55% of employees reported a greater ability to work, and 90% said they wanted to continue working a four-day week. The experiment tested employees’ ability to work 80% of their time – still receive the same pay – in exchange for 100% of their usual output.
Related: The pros and cons of a 4-day work week
The changing workplace
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, which allowed more employees to work from home or hybrid, employees have expressed their greater need for more flexible scheduling and overall autonomy.
This is especially true for most workers who have left jobs and positions since the start of the pandemic that didn’t necessarily meet their increased demand for a better work-life balance.
Two different surveys in the US and the UK found that employees value work-life balance over getting paid more. According to the FlexJobs 2022 Career Survey of more than 4,000 US workers, 63% said work-life balance is more important than better pay. Similar in the UK Results showed that 65% of job seekers prioritize better work-life balance over higher pay benefits.
The urgency to lure workers back into the workplace after seeing them leave the job market en masse meant that employers needed to become more innovative and creative in their workplace policies to provide employees with better benefits that matched their needs.
What the four-day work week can mean for employees
Shortening the standard work week from 9 to 5 is a concept that a growing number of companies are now starting to pick up on — and for employees experiencing burnout, it can help improve their work-life balance and mental well-being. reduce their burnout levels.
Related: A 4-Day Work Week Could Be A Reality In The US, Study Reveals — Here’s What Could Move The Needle
Better work-life balance
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 a third of all working mothers either scaled back or permanently quit their jobs. Women who temporarily left their careers behind, managed to take on more family and childcare responsibilities at home. Working mothers who continued to work from home during the pandemic managed to balance work and family care, but experienced more burnout.
More disturbing, one study in the US, nearly six in 10 workers say they have felt at least moderate levels of burnout, higher than at the height of the pandemic.
Further insights show that the majority of employees – 86% – who reported higher levels of burnout also suffer from other issues, such as mental health issues, anxiety and sleep problems. A shorter work week would mean employees have to do a lot more in less time, but it would create a chance for them to recover properly and have more flexibility to manage work and personal tasks equally.
Improved home equity
After the most recent four-day workweek trial, organizers found that participants, both men and women, had an overwhelmingly positive experience of having more time available to spend at home or take on more family-related responsibilities.
Female employees experienced less burnout and there was more job and life satisfaction, better mental health and less commuting. In addition, the results also showed that the shorter work week allowed more men to spend time at home and take on more family care responsibilities. Time men spent at home taking care of children increased by 27%while, by comparison, women reported seeing a 13% increase in child care.
Allowing working parents to spend more time at home gives them the opportunity to find more balance in terms of household chores and childcare responsibilities.
In addition, 62% of women and 65% of men would rather work a shorter week, while being paid a full week. Not only does this give them more time to rest, but it also improves their scheduling flexibility and helps improve their overall autonomy.
Related: Is the 4-Day Work Week Better? Evidence points to yes.
Take more autonomy and control
While the number of women and women of color in leadership positions has gradually increased in recent years, fewer of them still hold leadership positions compared to their male peers. Research shows that for every 100 men offered a leadership promotion, only 87 women and 82 women of color were offered a similar promotion.
In the same vein, there has also been a decline in male labor force participation in recent years, long before the pandemic became a reality. Studies revealed that the participation rate of men in the highest age – men between the ages of 25 and 40 – has been on a downward trend since 2003. This follows a declining trend that started as early as the 1960s.
But overall, there has been a shift in demographic employment rates, with both white men and white women of all ages participating less. Gradual changes in how employers structure and hire new recruits have created more accessible opportunities for workers from different social and economic backgrounds.
However, this does not solve the problems associated with ensuring the long-term overall well-being of employees, and this also applies to employees of all backgrounds.
Providing more balance to employees’ lives would give them a better chance of leveling the playing field in the workplace. A better work-life balance means that both women and men can focus equally on important things like childcare and work.
Moreover, studies have shown that since the onset of remote and hybrid working, a growing number of working parents (68%) have said they are more willing to seek a job that can provide them with greater autonomy and flexible childcare scheduling.
Related: The 4-day work week may soon become a reality
Employees want more freedom and better control over their work-life balance. This includes the ability to work remotely or possibly even follow a hybrid work model, ultimately allowing them more control over how they plan their days to achieve their desired work-life balance.
While the four-day work week is a concept that many companies are slowly adapting to, organizations will need to be more creative and innovative if they want to attract highly talented employees. Not only does the four-day work week provide employees with a range of benefits, but it also helps them achieve a better work-life balance and helps level the playing field that previously left some employees at a disadvantage.