Does the short 4-day working week work where it has been applied? It would seem so

The experimentation of the short working week consists of reducing working days from 5 to 4 while maintaining productivity and salary unchanged. According to OECD data, in 2022 in the European Union the 7% of employed people he worked more than 49 hours a weekwhile in Italy the percentage reaches 9.4%. In such a framework the 4 day work week it is considered by many to be a new frontier in work organisation, potentially capable of improving employee satisfaction, company efficiency and market competitiveness. In our country, as in other European states, more and more companies are adopting the reduced working week, allowing employees to work fewer days without a reduction in salary. This practice was adopted in Italy by Intesa Sanpaolo, Sace, Lamborghinis And Luxottica and it seems destined to extend. In recent days there has been news that our Parliament is working on a bill which provides tools to encourage collective and company bargaining for experimentation of the reduction of working hours with the same salary and productivity. But where it has already been applied, does the short week work? It would seem so.

The successful case study of the short week in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, a study by the University of Cambridge studied the impact of the introduction of the short working week.

According to data released by the promoters of the experiment, conducted on 61 companies and engaging 2900 workers:

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  • About the 71% of employees said they had lower levels of burnout and the 39% declared himself to be less stressedcompared to the beginning of the study.
  • The researchers found a reduction of 65% of days of illness it's a decline by 57% of the number of employees who have resigned by participating companies, compared to the same period of the previous year.
  • THE revenues of the company have remained almost unchanged during the test period, even increasing marginally by an average of 1.4% for the 23 organizations able to provide data.
short working week

How the “short” working week works: what are the advantages

The short week is characterized by a working period of 4 days instead of the traditional 5 and generally it is salary stay unchanged or suffers one minimal reduction. This new way of working emphasizes the importance of evaluating results based on performance and ai accomplished results, rather than relying solely on established working hours. According to the report of the 4 Day Week Global Association, the practice allows you to:

  • Increase productivity: reducing working hours would increase concentration and motivation at work, with an increase in productivity
  • Improve work-life balance: you have more time available to dedicate to your personal life
  • Increase attractiveness towards talents: this strategy in work organization becomes a competitive advantage, as the number of people interested in working for companies that promote employee well-being policies is increasing

Furthermore, by introducing a short working week, multinationals can also improve their own reputation. Clearly, we must take into consideration that this opportunity is linked to the type of work and cannot be applied indiscriminately to each sector.

4 day week works

Possible critical aspects of the short week: the disadvantages

While some argue that reducing working hours could increase employment, citing the “work less, everyone work” formula, it must be considered that those who work may find themselves facing anxiety and stress due to the need to do the same job in less time. Furthermore, if the reduction in hours results in the same salary, the hourly labor costs would increaseleading to an increase in costs for companies that would have to hire more employees to compensate for fewer hours worked, without forgetting that for each new worker, the company (especially if small) incurs “fixed” costs: recruiting, training and so on.