4DWW Challenge: Diving into the latest 4-day data

This is part of our series on IWT’s 4-Day Workweek Challenge, where we take you behind the scenes to show what it’s like for us as we test out a compressed work schedule. The post you’re about to read is written by Tony Ho Tran, a professional journalist for The Daily Beast and a former copywriter for IWT. Join us as we dive deep on the highs and lows of the challenge. 

This is going to be for the nerds and weirdos who LOVE numbers.

A few weeks ago, we gave you a few actionable steps you could take to try 4DWW at your business. One of the most crucial steps you can (and should) take is coming armed with knowledge.

Your research is going to help you make a better case for the 4DWW to your boss and co-workers. It’ll also show you how to implement it without losing your business money (very important!). 

But it can be hard to do all the research yourself — especially with all of the studies, articles, podcasts, blog posts, and case studies floating out there like a starry constellation of alternative workplace systems. 

That’s why we wanted to take some time today to dive into some of the most important numbers when it comes to the 4DWW — including a few that might surprise you.

New 4DWW report just dropped

Today, we want to draw attention to a brand new report recently released by non-profit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global. We’ve talked about them before (heck, we even talked to two of the people in charge of the group).

The latest findings continue to underscore the massive benefits from a 4DWW — and why exactly the 5-day workweek might have its days numbered (well, literally). 

The new report also differs from the groundbreaking one released earlier this year in a number of ways. For one, unlike the earlier one that relied on 6-month pilot programs, the latest also drew on pilot programs that lasted an entire year. 

This gives a much more holistic look at the impact of the 4DWW. Researchers are able to see if findings can be sustained over a longer period of time. 

This is important because a year is long. Simple things like seasons, weather, and holidays can impact the way that workers and companies feel about 4DWW. 

The latest report also included results from a 6-month pilot program in the U.S. and Canada, which weren’t included in the previous trials. This gives a better look at how companies and workers in North America fare when given the option of a 4DWW. 

Some key facts about the latest 6-month pilot program:

  • 41 companies participated
  • Pilot programs took place between February 2022 and April 2023
  • Companies were between 11-25 employees on average
  • 988 employees took part

What did they learn from all the data they’ve collected? Well, this:

Courtesy of 4 Day Week Global

Can’t make sense of all the numbers? Don’t sweat. Here are the biggest takeaways from the report:

1. Work hours continued to drop over time

Credit: Unsplash

This is probably the most eye-opening finding from the report: The average number of hours worked dropped from 33.85 average hours in the 6-month program to 32.97 average hours in the 12-month program. 

That’s nearly a FULL HOUR difference from the previous program and almost FIVE HOURS from the baseline of 38 hours — which is incredible

That means that the 4DWW is somehow getting even shorter over time. 

A few things are at play: As companies and employees begin to adjust, they become accustomed to the new work system. This makes things more efficient and streamlined (something that we’ve already seen happen with IWT)

“A concern we frequently hear is there’s no way the results from our 6-month trials can be maintained, as the novelty eventually must wear off,” 4 Day Week Global CEO Dale Whelan said in a statement. “But here we are a year later with benefits only continuing to grow. This is very promising for the sustainability of this model.”

2. Burnout remained low

While burnout spiked slightly from the 6-month trial periods, employees still reported 17% less burnout compared to the baseline. 

Meanwhile, the new U.S. and Canada results showed similar outcomes. 

Seven in ten (69%) of employees from the latest 6-month trial reported reductions in burnout despite seeing their productivity spike by a whopping 57% when compared to their “lifetime best,” according to the report. 

Additionally, 51% of employees said that they felt more control of their own schedules. 

So, what can we gain from this and the previous stat? Workers aren’t necessarily feeling the pressure of less hours in the office. But they are feeling the intensity of their work. 

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3. Job satisfaction actually dropped (slightly)

Credit: Unsplash

This is a weird one. 

Employees reported being less satisfied with their job after 12 months when compared with the 6-month pilot program — by a very small percentage. However, they remained much more satisfied with their job when compared to the baseline 5-day workweek.

“Life satisfaction scores remained stable with no significant change from the trial’s endpoint to the 12-month mark,” lead researcher Juliet Schor, an economist and sociologist at Boston College, said in a statement. “However, job satisfaction showed a slight regression after a year.”

Schor added that this might indicate that there are factors beyond the 4DWW that are impacting the workers’ overall well-being. 

Looking at the latest U.S. and Canada findings, 74% of employees were more satisfied with a 4DWW when compared to before.

4. Revenue (and retention) remained high

The latest U.S. and Canada pilot program saw a 15% increase in revenue over the trial. Not only that, but employees who seriously considered leaving also fell drastically, with 32% saying they were less likely to leave with the 4DWW. 

“The most profound impact was on employee retention,” Kickstarter’s chief strategy officer Jon Leland said of his company’s participation in the pilot program. “We’ve seen very few people choose to depart the company since the implementation of our 4-day week.” 

“This has dramatically improved our ability to meet objectives and key results every quarter,” he added. “While we were lucky to hit 70% prior to our pilot, we now hit more than 90%. It’s easy to think that a company might have to sacrifice some ambition to implement a 4-day week, but we have only increased the scale of our ambition since its adoption.”

5. Nobody wants to go back to normal workdays

Credit: Unsplash

Overall, U.S. and Canadian employees are in love with the 4DWW.

13.8% of workers surveyed reported they wouldn’t go back to a 5-day workweek for any amount of money. More than 30% said it would take a significant salary bump (25% – 50%) for them to go back to normal days. Meanwhile, 12.2% said it would take more than a 50% pay bump to get them to switch back. 

And really, who could blame them? Especially when you consider:

  • 59% felt less negative emotions
  • 45% felt less fatigued
  • 40% had less sleep problems
  • 39% felt less anxiety

Here’s the thing: These numbers represent a profound impact on people’s quality of life. 

This isn’t just some abstraction. It’s easy to look at these numbers and think, “Well, that’s cool I guess,” when in reality it can mean the difference between loving your life and absolutely dreading it when you wake up.

This is something we’ve been talking about for YEARS at IWT. People should have the tools and ability to live their Rich Life no matter where they are in their life. That’s why we’ve dedicated our own work lives to bringing it to you.

As the summer — and our first trial with the 4DWW Challenge — comes to a close, we want you to remember that all these numbers tell a bigger story. 

It’s not just about your company’s bottom line or helping you be more efficient at work. 

It’s about the hours you get to spend with your kids.

It’s about the time you get to use to learn a new hobby or skill.

It’s about the days you get to travel to places and people you’ve never seen before — and might not ever again. 

It’s about your Rich Life.

That’s what the 4DWW Challenge — and I Will Teach You To Be Rich — is all about.

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