In the world’s largest trial of a four-day work week, including over a dozen companies and nearly 3,000 workers in the United Kingdom, “a majority of supervisors and employees liked it so much they’ve decided to keep the arrangement. In fact, 15 percent of the employees who participated said ‘no amount of money’ would convince them to go back to working five days a week,” according to the Washington Post, which added:
At the end of the experiment, employees reported a variety of benefits related to their sleep, stress levels, personal lives and mental health, according to results published Tuesday. Companies’ revenue ‘stayed broadly the same’ during the six-month trial, but rose 35 percent on average when compared with a similar period from previous years. Resignations decreased.
Perhaps the benefits are due in part to having uninterrupted time for life's pleasures. In her essay included in the Exchange Essentials on “Fostering Positive Organizational Culture,” author Mary Pipher suggests:
We experience our deepest happiness when we connect to ancient human pleasures. Communal meals, campfires, watching a thunderstorm, snuggling with children, and storytelling are some of our primal pleasures. Dipping our toes in a lake, walking through a forest or observing a meteor shower help us keep our lives in perspective; we are a small part of something vast and universal.
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Comments (3)Displaying All 3 Comments
Eugene, OR, United States
Andrea, it's inspiring to hear about administrators, teachers - and children - being flexible to make that work! Kathy, I didn't know about the Kellog company trying that. How we work, what we want, and how we care for and educate our children are all so intertwined... Thanks for your insights.
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona
Tucson, AZ, United States
There is one child care center (only one that I know of) here that lets the two teachers in one of their classrooms work 4 days a week. When I first heard this, I thought it might be hard on the children in their care. The children, however, seem to have adjusted (because it is a consistent schedule) and the teachers expressed being SO happy with it. That happiness might go a long way in creating a positive classroom climate!
Montview Community Preschool
Denver, Colorado, United States
I am all for a 4-day work week! Back in the 50's the Kellog company offered a 4-day work week to their employees and it worked great. Everyone was happier. Parents were more involved in the community and with their kids (coaching soccer, scout leaders, etc.). Unfortuantely it eventually died out as adults wanted fancier cars and bigger TVs and were willing to work more hours to get them. So it would take a whhole cultural change. I'm not not sure how a 4-day week would work for students and teachers. Would we be willing to shorten the school week? If not, how could teachers have a 4-day work week?
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