Posted 24 февраля 15:31

Published 24 февраля 15:31

Modified 24 февраля 15:57

Updated 24 февраля 15:57

Everyone is happy! The British have proven the benefits of a 4-day working week

24 февраля 2023, 15:31
As a result of the experiment, which lasted six months, scientists came to the conclusion that nothing but benefits for both the employee and the employer will not give the transition to a four-day period.

The six-month experiment, which was launched in early June 2022 as part of the 4 Day Week Global campaign by the Autonomy research group in partnership with scientists from Cambridge University (Britain) and Boston College (USA), has ended, and its results have been summed up.

In total, about 2,900 employees from 61 companies participated in the study. The full description of the experiment is set out in the report of The UK's four-day week pilot  During the test period, employees were allowed to work 32 hours a week (4 days for 8 hours), and both salary and benefits remained unchanged. 

A similar experiment was already conducted in Iceland, it lasted 4 years, and every hundredth employee in the country took part in it. However, the working week was reduced by about half a day – by 4-5 hours.

According to Icelandic researchers, the productivity of employees, in any case, has not decreased. People began to prioritize better, reduce meetings, but conduct them with greater efficiency, etc. There is a scientific explanation for this – as psychologist Nira Lieberman (Tel Aviv University) explained, short deadlines force the brain to reduce costs - and not be distracted by extraneous matters.

Even in the XIX century, people worked less than today!

Economist Dmitry Prokofiev in this regard recalls that a little more than two hundred years ago there was already a 4-day working week in the UK.

Moreover, at the beginning of the 19th century, British workers worked for 6 hours a day, with three days off, and they coped with nothing.

And then the working time began to lengthen by itself, but the hourly wage began to decrease. This phenomenon was called "Engels' pause" (he was the first to draw attention to it and draw a conclusion about the impending absolute impoverishment of the working class).

However, impoverishment did not happen. On the contrary, since the middle of the 19th century, the real incomes of English workers began to grow, and at a high rate

As economic historian Robert Allen explained, inequality and economic growth "influence each other and are inseparable from each other." The growth of profits of British industrialists allowed them to accumulate capital, which was subsequently invested in new technologies. Technology has increased productivity – and the real wages of workers have started to grow along with it.

What is important here?

For example, in the USA, the "real" hourly wage of employees has been stagnating for half a century (taking into account inflation, this is about $10 per hour in dollars in 1984). No, life has certainly become more comfortable over the years, and all sorts of gadgets have made it more pleasant, and even incomes have grown due to rent, entrepreneurship, and so on, but ... people have no more money

Perhaps, through a reduction in working hours, capital begins to repay debts to labor..."

Everyone was happy, including family members

The results of the British experiment exceeded all expectations:


- The revenue of the companies as a whole remained the same (the average increase was 1.4%);

- 56 companies (out of 61 participating in the project) plan to continue the practice of 4-day work, 18 companies have completely switched to 4-day work;

- The number of sick days decreased by 65%;

- 71% of employees reported a lower burnout rate;

- Staff turnover decreased by 57%;

- In general, it became easier for respondents to combine their work with family and social responsibilities, and they were more satisfied with their finances in the family, relationships and how their time is allocated.

So we are waiting for an adequate response from employers to this experiment.