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More productivity and applicant interest

The study, done by the New Zealand based non-profit 4 Day Week Global, gave companies options to “meaningfully” lower the workweek to four days. Options might include one day a week off to reduce working days to around 32 hours per week, for example. However, workers must continue to receive 100% of their pay.

The 61 companies involved in the six-month study found a number of benefits. Employees spoke of their improved stress hardiness, mental health and even sleep. Meanwhile, company revenue actually jumped 35% on average year over year; Tyler Grange, a U.K.-based environmental consultancy, enjoyed a 22% leap in productivity.

What’s more, turnover and resignations dropped. The shorter week even helped with hiring. Tyler Grange saw job applications skyrocket by 88% and absenteeism shrink by 66%. Of all 61 companies, just three decided they wouldn’t move forward with a four-day workweek, or just 5%.

Great timing for companies seeking employees

With the Great Resignation as a symptom of post-pandemic strain — and remote work options exploding at an unprecedented rate — workers today demand far more flexibility and a better work-life balance, without giving up their work-at-home gains.

And with U.S. unemployment as of March still at 3.6% — a general level not seen since the first man landed on the moon — workers feel empowered to go anywhere they like to get it.

Read more: Here's how much money the average middle-class American household makes — how do you stack up?

In fact, 61% of Americans surveyed by LinkedIn, said that they were considering leaving their jobs. Among millennials and Gen Z Americans, that number hit an astounding 70%.

Recession? They’re not bothered. Bluster from a boss demanding a full-time return to the office? Bad, bad idea, unless your definition of success is an employee exodus — especially if the employer down the street has introduced a four-day workweek.

4 days not always possible

Clearly, some jobs can't accommodate a four-day week right away, if at all. Just as hospital workers had to show up for work at the most dangerous juncture of the pandemic, they’ll likely need to observe those five-day weeks barring a sudden influx of employees. In like manner, day care employees and teachers will need to continue the current five-day structure.

However, the 4 Day Week Global study shows the destructive effects of burnout in traditional workplaces — hence Sanders’ call for a better work-life balance achievable through technology.

Governments across the U.S. are taking meaningful steps to embrace the worldwide trend, with Maryland lawmakers introducing a bill to adopt a four-day workweek. California lawmakers have also introduced a bill that would require employers to pay overtime after 32 hours. Some of these transitions could yield incentives for companies that make the switch as early adopters.

Whatever the legalities and practicalities to address, it’s clear that workplace change is coming. Employees want more from their job and 4 Day Week co-founders Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart remain driven in their efforts to grow their movement. If you’re intrigued then perhaps take the weekend to think about it — and imagine how it would feel if that weekend were just a day longer.

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About the Author

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Freelance contributor

Amy Legate-Wolfe is an experienced personal finance writer and journalist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Toronto, a Freelance Writing Certificate in Journalism from the University of Toronto Schools, and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University. Amy has worked for Huffington Post, CTVNews.ca, CBC, Motley Fool Canada, and Financial Post. She is skilled at analyzing trends and creating content for digital and print platforms. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading and watching British dramas on BritBox. She is a mother and dog-mom to a Wheaten Terrier.

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