Studying in Great Britain: Fewer absences thanks to four days a week

As of: 21/02/2023 4:53 PM

The four-day week is becoming increasingly popular in many countries. In the world’s largest experiment, 61 British companies have now tested the model. The result: employees relax, become more motivated, and absent more often.

Written by Christophe Brussel, ARD Studio London

Jacques Fearon loves four days a week. The young man works for Target Composites in the north of England. The company repairs carbon bicycle frames. Earlier he only had a two-day weekend.

Christophe Brussel
ARD-Studio London

Meaning: work in and around the house on Saturdays. “My wife works on Saturdays, and we spent Sunday together. Now I have Friday to myself.” And he loves riding his motorbike — without feeling guilty that work is left at home.

61 companies participated in the study

Company founder Anna Winlock brought the idea of ​​the four-day workweek to the company. And she’s satisfied, too: “Productivity has increased. We’ve done more than before. There are two reasons for that: we’re more relaxed and more motivated.”

These are experiences that many companies in the UK have had. In the UK, many companies have experimented with the four-day workweek. 61 companies with about 2,900 employees took part in the world’s largest test.

The results are positive. 56 companies have announced that they will keep the four-day work week.

Significant reduction in absenteeism

Will Strong accompanied the experiment, along with scientists from the University of Cambridge and Boston College. He is the director of the Autonomy Research Center and has come to the conclusion that most companies manage to increase or at least maintain productivity.

“With employees, we’ve been able to determine that the number of days absent has decreased significantly,” says Strong. Remember the study minus 65 percent. Many employees welcome the fact that they can take care of the children more and it also means there are lower childcare costs. These are very high in the UK.

The mental illness epidemic

“Employee satisfaction is fantastic,” says Strong, summarizing the results of the experiment. The study shows that far fewer people are absent in the long term, for example due to fatigue.

“In the UK, like many other countries, we’re going through an epidemic of mental illness. Stress, anxiety, depression, we lose millions of days of work because of it,” says Strong.

Easier to implement for office jobs

In general, as experience shows, four days a week for office work is easier to implement. However, manufacturing companies also participated in the experiment, such as a fish and chip shop.

The results of the study should now help shatter prejudices and promote the four-day-a-week in the political arena. Strong met politicians from all parties in the House of Commons on Monday to report on the results.

Four days a week in the UK a great success

Christophe Brussel, ARD London, Feb. 21, 2023 3:49 pm


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