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33 companies put the 4-day workweek to the test and found it may be better for business

A 2021 survey found that 70% of American workers would support a shorter work week. This year, 33 companies put the shorter work week to a test and found success.

LOS ANGELES — Is a shortened workweek good for business? 

Millions switched to remote or hybrid work during the pandemic. Commuting time was scrapped, meetings got shorter or were done virtually. And the question of whether a traditional work schedule was necessary got louder. 

"We just saw people that were burnt out and tired," said Jon Leland, chief strategy officer of Kickstarter.

Thirty-three companies with a total of 903 employees signed up to participate in a six-month trial with the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global and researchers at three universities. 

"The requirements are no reduction in pay. So, all employees are still getting their five days' pay... and there must be a meaningful reduction in work time," explained Juliet Schor, an economist and sociology professor at Boston College. 

Organizers said the trial was an overwhelming success.

None of the 27 companies that completed the post-experiment survey said they were planning to go back to the five-day workweek.

"The productivity is up, not down from four days versus five. How can I possibly argue to this building of intelligent human beings that I want to put them back in five days?" said Samantha Losey, managing director of Unity. 

Workers reported lower levels of stress and fatigue. Company revenue was higher compared to the year prior and some managers reported that having an extra day off gave their staff more energy to do their jobs. 

"One of the big benefits we've seen is just the perspective and almost kind of freshness that people bring to work with them," Losey said.

A 2021 survey found that 70% of workers in America would support a shorter workweek, while only 9% opposed it. 

"The five-day 40-hour workweek feels like this immutable law that was handed down by God at some point, but we invented it about a hundred years ago. We just haven't updated it," Leland said.

A separate six-month trial is happening now in the United Kingdom, with 70 companies and over 3,000 workers participating. Results from that trial are due in February. 

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