First Irish trial of four-day week ‘a resounding success’

First Irish trial of four-day week 'a resounding success'

Ireland’s first co-ordinated trial of a four-day week has been hailed as “a resounding success in virtually every dimension”.

The project, backed by Fórsa and carried out in partnership by Four-Day Week Ireland, University College Dublin (UCD), and Boston College, examined the financial, social, and environmental impact that a four-day working week would have on businesses and employees in Ireland.

Following the trial, 100 per cent of employees indicated they would like to continue a reduced work schedule. Nine of the 12 companies involved are committed to continuing with the four-day week, while the remaining three are planning to continue but have not made a long-term commitment.

Lead researcher Dr Orla Kelly said: “All participating organisations plan to continue the reduced work schedule. Productivity levels are up. We found significant improvements across a wide range of well-being metrics, including positive affect, work-family and work-life balance, and several domains of life satisfaction.

“Conversely, stress, burnout, fatigue, and work-family conflict significantly declined. Levels of sleep deprivation have also fallen dramatically. We observed an increase across three forms of pro-environmental behaviour.

“The trial was particularly successful for women. They reported a significantly greater improvement in life satisfaction, had larger gains in sleep time and reported feeling more secure in their employment. Our findings hold important lessons for the future of work in this country.”

Kevin Callinan, general secretary of Fórsa, said: “The four-day-week is an example of how a concept that many have questioned, can genuinely improve the future for workers. The research presented today highlights the need for a more balanced work-life schedule.

“In today’s working world there’s a mismatch between the amount of time we spend working and the time we spend with our families and friends. The four-day week can be at the forefront of a new age of work, providing transformative social benefits without losing pay or productivity.”

Kevin Donoghue, chair of the Four-Day Week Ireland, said: “This report shows that the benefits of a reduced working week can be felt across all stakeholder groups. We are glad to be able to share the success of this trial through the launch of the report this morning and look forward to working towards making the four-day week the norm in Irish society.”

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