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New Four-Day Work Week Study Shows Impressive Results One CEO on the four-day work week: 'This works.'

By Entrepreneur Staff

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Researchers at University College Dublin, Cambridge University, and Boston College unveiled the results of their study on the four-day work week this month, revealing that 96.9% of employees at the 27 companies involved said they'd love the trial to continue.

This comes after significant evidence has already indicated employee well-being and productivity largely improves when workers slash their hours from 40 to 35 or 36 each week. In this most recent study, employees across North America and Ireland cut their average work time down to just above 32 hours per week, on average, and still reported they felt more productive, not to mention slept and exercised more. Companies involved reported increases in revenue, too, and about two-thirds of the participating organizations said they'll continue with the four-day model. Most of the rest said they are planning on continuing, but a final decision is pending.

Kristi Piehl, CEO of Media Minefield, implemented a modified version of the four-day work week at her company this summer and her results are similar to those in the study: Three months into the new model, 98% of her employees reported the change had improved their quality of life. Productivity hasn't suffered, she says. It increased. Media Minefield has won requests for proposals in nationwide searches "in a way that we hadn't in the past," she says. Piehl adds that not only are her employees reporting their lives are better, but at a recent holiday party, their plus-ones told her their lives are improved by having their partners more available around the home.

"It's fascinating to me now, as more companies in different industries do it and different countries are doing it," she tells Entrepreneur. "It isn't just, 'This will work in one place,' or, 'This will work in one type of company.' This works."

Still, she knows it can be a hard sell for other CEOs. When she announced to her own company that this change was coming, she was met with a "stunned silence," but she'd prepared for that. She gave her workers a month to figure out how they would start utilizing their reduced hours. Some companies give employees a set day off every week, but Piehl modified her approach so Media Minefield employees could take their hours whenever they wanted, in a way that worked for their other commitments or interests.

"For us, it's this flexibility of determining how best to serve your client, how best to serve your team, how best to help deal with social media, press, whatever it might be that their job function is, and to integrate it with their life and what their life is like that week," she says. "And so we've seen people working less hours and we've seen the same output as an agency."

Among her peers at the top of other companies, Piehl has noted hesitancy to embrace the movement toward a four-day work week, but she added that the rise of work-from-home flexibility during the pandemic has proven to bosses in a variety of industries that previously unheard-of working models can still yield productivity.

"I suspect that it's going to take some large companies putting out their financial data in a public way for other companies to get over the fear and to take the leap," she muses, adding that Gen Z's focus on workplace satisfaction and work-life balance will also push the scale. "They want to make an impact and they want to have ownership of their time and of their life and they want experiences and they're going to be able the best talent is going to go where they can have their best life. And that when the best talent goes to companies that are doing this, they're going to have better business results."

The change will take time on a large scale, she acknowledges, but for companies like hers, it's already hare, and it's going great.

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff

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