As we come to the end of Stress Awareness Month, and following articles on workplace stress, how employers can help ease workplace stress and the differences and links between mental illness and stress, an exciting new trial has shown that a change to working patterns could help reduce stress.
In this previous article (click here to read) we outlined the most stressful industries to work in, including healthcare, education, law, social work, hospitality and even mental health. For office workers involved in the 4 day working week trial, stress levels were reduced as a result.
Exciting, earlier this year a major six month trial published findings to suggest Working a four-day week boosts employee wellbeing while preserving productivity.
Research involving 61 UK organizations found a 20% reduction in working time with no loss of pay led to significant drops in workforce stress and sick days, an increase in worker retention, and a much better work-life balance for most employees — all while ‘key business metrics’ were met.
Now, results from the world’s largest trial of a four-day working week reveal significantly reduced rates of stress and illness in the workforce — with 71% of employees self-reporting lower levels of “burnout,” and 39% saying they were less stressed, compared to the start of the trial.
There was a 65% reduction in sick days, and a 57% fall in the number of staff leaving participating companies, compared to the same period the previous year. Company revenue barely changed during the trial period — even increasing marginally by 1.4% on average.
In a report of the findings presented to UK lawmakers, some 92% of companies that took part in the UK pilot programme (56 out of 61) say they intend to continue with the four-day working week, with 18 companies confirming the change as permanent.
It seems as though there is strong evidence that 4 day working weeks may well reduce stress levels for some workers in some industries. In a time of stress for many, employers may want to consider their own involvement in trialling a similar scheme, moving away from the Monday to Friday 9 to 5, and in the meantime there are other ways to reduce stress for employees.
Read more about stress in the workplace.
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