Salford Researchers Support World’s Biggest Trial of Four Day Working

Categories: School of Health and Society

University of Salford researchers have supported landmark research into the benefits of businesses introducing a four-day working week.

Dr David Frayne and Professor Daiga Kamerade are Social Scientists at the Centre for Research and Inclusive Society (CRIS) in the School of Health and Society.  They joined a new study by independent think tank Autonomy and researchers from the University of Cambridge and Boston College in the US.

The original four-day week pilot took place over six months in the second half of 2022. This new piece of work saw researchers revisiting the businesses a year after the initial pilot, to see how things were faring.

David Frayne, who is also a University Fellow at Salford, said: ““One year on from the original UK pilot in 2022, at least 54 out of the original 61 participating companies have decided to retain a four-day week, without any loss in staff pay.  In addition, at least 31 (51% have made the change permanent)."

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to study how the four-day week fares in the longer term, beyond the excitement of a pilot, and there is so much here that is encouraging. We are building up an understanding of how organisations make it stick”.

Salford researchers led the qualitative component of the project, interviewing staff and managers in the participating organisations. Their work was combined with survey data gathered by the Autonomy think-tank and a team of researchers at Boston College.

When asked what the shorter working week had changed in their organisation, 82% reported positive impacts on wellbeing. In addition, 50% saw positive effects on reducing staff turnover and 32% said it noticeably improved job recruitment. 

46% of organisations also described positive change in terms of ways of working and productivity, leading to maintained or increased overall performance.

The report offers new insight into the effects of a four-day week on workers over the longer term, as well as into the strategies used by organisations to fit shorter working hours to their particular circumstances.

Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said: “One year on from the results of the UK's four-day week pilot, virtually every company we've spoken to has decided to stick with the four-day week. The improvements in physical and mental health, work-life balance, and general life satisfaction, as well as the reductions in burnout found at the end of the trial have all been maintained one year on.”

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