Expert: Four-day workweek benefits employees and businesses

  • Studies have shown four-day workweeks greatly improved lives of employees
  • Some companies that tried it reported increased revenue and productivity
  • The benefits of shortening the workweek are being recognized globally

(NewsNation) — Lawmaker reintroduces a bill in Congress to create a four-day workweek as experts tout its effectiveness in improving businesses and the lives of its employees.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of “Work Less Do More: Designing the 4-day Week” joined “NewsNation Prime” to discuss companies who tried it out, saying trials have been successful globally.

“We’re seeing companies embracing this without cutting productivity, without sacrificing revenues and seeing improvements in things like recruitment and retention, work life balance and I think longer term sustainability,” said Pang.

The “Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act” was introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., a second attempt at such legislation. The bill proposes amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to shorten the standard workweek for non-exempt employees.

“The four day week is already here,” Pang explained. “Studies tell us that the average knowledge worker loses two to three hours of productive time every day to overly long meetings, technology, distractions, to that one quick question that turns into a 10 minute side conversation. And so if you can get a handle on those things, then it turns out, you can go a long way to doing in four days, what it currently takes five.”

A trial of 33 companies employing 1,000 people across the U.S., Ireland and Australia tested the four-day, 32-hour workweek as part of a six month pilot program. By the end, not a single participating company reported wanting to switch back to the standard workweek.

Employees who were part of the trial cited an improvement in stress, burnout and work-life balance. The companies also saw a revenue increase of 8% during the trial period.

A trial of a four-day workweek in Britain had similar results, with 61 participating companies reporting happier employees.

A University of Cambridge worked with researchers from Boston College; Autonomy, a research organization focused on the future of work; and the 4 Day Week Global nonprofit community to see how the companies from industries spanning marketing to finance to nonprofits and their 2,900 workers would respond to reduced work hours while pay stayed the same.

The results of the study found employees experienced significant benefits, with 71% less burned out, 39% less stressed and 48% more satisfied with their job than before the trial.

Of the workers, 60% said it was easier to balance work and responsibilities at home, while 73% reported increased satisfaction with their lives. Fatigue was down, people were sleeping more and mental health improved, the findings show.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


© 1998 - 2023 Nexstar Media Group Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation