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A four-day work week program is officially underway in the US

To the shock of no one, a shorter week brings increased, not decreased, productivity

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

The pandemic taught many of us that the rat race was really wasn’t worth the cheese. We liked being at home, and we liked spending more time with our families during the lockdown. Alert companies realized that this could signal a shift towards a more healthy work-life balance, and now a pilot program where workers are paid the same salary for a four-day week is showing wonderful results.

Despite losing a day of labor, companies get the same amount of work out of a happier, more motivated workforce that performs better on the four days they do work. Ditch a few meetings and suddenly your workday feels more relevant — and you work harder.

As reported by CNBC, the latest 4 Day Week Global program adopted by 38 companies in the US and Canada launched on April 1 and will last for six months as a test to see if the international results can be duplicated here. It’s reported that 92 percent of US workers would prefer a four-day work, and that 78 percent of employees on the shortened schedule are more relaxed and happier.

One of the companies that has experimented with the program is Kickstarter, which actually began offering the improved schedule in July 2021.

4 Day Week Global was started in New Zealand in 2018 by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart. Barnes tested the concept at his estate planning company Perpetual Guardian and found that revenue went up and staff turnover dropped. In 2019, Microsoft Japan tried it and reported a 40 percent jump in productivity with the program — along with an associated guideline that no meeting can go over 30 minutes.

If you’re interested in trying the program at your company, new initiatives are launched each quarter here. Researchers at Cambridge University, Boston University and Oxford University are partnering with local researchers to crunch the data associated with the trials.

Our 1800s counterparts would be proud of us; they fought hard to wrestle the work week which for some laborers was a daily, 100 hour a week schedule into today's eight-hour, five-day format... and now look at us!

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