The world's largest trial of a four-day workweek has wrapped up, with nearly 3,000 employees in the UK taking part in the six-month pilot.
Photo Insert: Of the 61 companies that took part in the trial, 56 are continuing to implement the four-day workweek (18 of which will be permanent), while two firms are extending the trial, and only three are going back to their previous schedules.
Among the findings were better work-life balances, fewer sleep problems, drops in burnout and quitting rates, and even revenues that increased modestly.
In fact, of the 61 companies that took part in the trial, 56 are continuing to implement the four-day workweek (18 of which will be permanent), while two firms are extending the trial, and only three are going back to their previous schedules.
The program was a major collaboration, spanning nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week Campaign in the United Kingdom, and the think tank Autonomy.
In the US, Henry Ford is largely credited for standardizing the five-day, 40-hour workweek. In 1926, he shortened the then-prevalent six-day work routine - without reducing employee pay - saying we "can get at least as great production and probably greater."
Later in the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was subsequently amended to make the 40-hour workweek a standard. In a 1956 speech, then Vice President Richard Nixon forecast a four-day work week would happen in the "not too distant future.
Over on Wall Street, market participants are also weighing the latest findings and considering whether a four-session trading week would work for the financial markets.
The trading day could be extended to 6 p.m. ET, which could benefit those on the West Coast who see the regular market day close around lunchtime.
Pre-market and after-hours sessions already take place on electronic communication networks, but a move towards amending the 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq could lead to greater visibility, increased volumes and liquidity while reducing volatility and risk.