In the largest-ever experiment of its kind, 33 companies adopted a four-day workweek. The results were conclusive: It's time for everyone to take Fridays off.


 The latest evidence for the shift to a four-day workweek comes from a six-month trial that began in February 2022. 33 companies with employees in six countries decreased their employees' workload to four days, or 32 hours, a week, while still paying them the same amount. The results of the trial were overwhelmingly positive: Companies reported increased revenue and improved employee health and well-being and had a positive impact on the environment. Soothing Solutions, a Dundalk, Ireland-based company that makes cough lozenges for children, was one of the companies that participated in the trial. Employees were initially skeptical, but after the trial, they reported improved work-life balance and increased productivity. The results of the trial were unequivocal: The four-day workweek was better for everyone.

Soothing Solutions, a company that operates using a four-day week, recently launched on Amazon and has already had its first UK sale. The company is also available in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, and Scotland, and plans to expand further. Despite not having anything to compare their growth to, the founders are not worried about any negative impacts the four-day week might have on business. 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit organization that promotes the four-day workweek, has partnered with academics from Harvard Business School, Oxford University, and the University of Pennsylvania to conduct trials at companies and analyze the results. The movement has been gaining traction, with tech startup Bolt trialing it in 2021 and finding it so successful that it implemented it after three months. However, there is some pushback, as a shorter week could mean employees' workload increases each day, causing more stress rather than less. Additionally, companies that require 24-hour customer service or news organizations that follow a 24-hour news cycle may not be able to shutter for even one day each week.

The push for a four-day workweek has been around for some time. In 1926, Henry Ford reduced the workweek at his namesake company to five days, believing that an extra day off would increase workers' productivity and give them more leisure time to spend money. This trend caught on, and the Fair Labor Standards Act set the standard for the workweek at 44 hours; an amendment in 1940 set the now-standard 40-hour week. 

Today, the four-day workweek is gaining traction. Barry Prost, a cofounder of the Irish company Rent a Recruiter, took part in the six-month 4-Day Week trial with the goal of addressing staff turnover. After the trial period, the company doubled its gross profits and calculated that its staff's productivity also doubled. Additionally, the new approach has enabled employees to have more leisure time and to do things they wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. 

The trial was also associated with a revenue boost among the participating companies, and the companies reported almost no downsides. None of the companies said they had any plans to return to a five-day week, and nearly all of the 495 employees involved in the trial wanted to maintain the four-day working week. In addition to business benefits, a four-day workweek may also help the environment and gender inequality.

The 4-Day Week trial found that participants spent an hour less time commuting than before the trial, and the results have been positive. It has been shown to provide vast improvements in well-being, life satisfaction, and sleep for women, who tend to take on more caring responsibilities. Additionally, it can help reduce carbon emissions, as people are commuting less and businesses use less energy. Furthermore, it can help women stay in their full-time jobs and not feel as if they're getting pushed out of the workforce. Although it may not be feasible for the world to shift to a four-day week overnight, the trial has produced real benefits and has shown that it is possible for many different kinds of corporations, as long as they are willing, to make the change.

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