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U.S., Canadian companies test out four-day workweek with employees

28 American and Canadian companies are implementing a test pilot program of a four-day workweek for its employees.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: 28 companies in the United States and Canada are testing out the four-day work week. It will be part of a six-month pilot program in partnership with Four-Day Week Global. Now 70 companies in the UK are about halfway through the same trial. And so far, a majority of those businesses say productivity is actually the same or has actually improved. This is a very interesting experiment now really gone global.

And Rachelle, my assumption was always four-day workweek can work if it's for 10-hour workdays. So you're eventually working a 40-hour work anyway. Most of these companies are, in fact, instituting four eight-hour days, so they're working 32 hours, but still getting 100% of the pay. I don't get it. No, I frankly think you've got to find a way to hit that 40-hour workweek, but apparently, the study suggests otherwise.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, it was actually saying that most people in the pilot are actually working 80% of their previous hours for that same pay. So you're still getting the same paycheck for 80% of the hours. But I mean, some are doing it less aggressively. Some are saying, look, we'll have maybe a half day on a Friday. Some are doing the 10 hours for the four days as well.

What I thought was interesting, though, they said one of the companies who participated called Atom Bank, when they moved to a four-day workweek model, the salaries remained unchanged, but there was a 500% uptick in the job applications for open roles. So I know a lot of companies have been trying to find that sort of happy place between, do we do hybrid, do we bring in more work from home, do we try a four-day workweek.

But if this is what it takes in, like, a tight labor market to actually get people interested in applying for some of these jobs, whether they'll stay after that six-month period after they go back to full-time, I don't know. But at least this does seem to be incentivizing maybe some people who were stuck on the sidelines.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, and 35 of those 41 companies responded to the survey, saying that they're likely or extremely likely to consider continuing this beyond the trial date. So we could see the fact that this maybe goes into full effect here at some of those companies that are experimenting with this. It makes sense in terms of the interest from people who are looking for jobs.

Yes, if you see that you only have to work four days instead of five, and you don't have to do those longer days, like Dave was talking about, yeah, that's an easy way and a smart way, I guess, to attract workers. I'm not buying the productivity, though, because if you're working eight solid hours less a week, how are you still as productive-- or more productive, the results of this survey? If there's fewer hours working a week, that part just doesn't add up to me, at least from the information that we're getting.

DAVE BRIGGS: Perhaps the argument is you're just more efficient if you're better rested and your mental health. Mental health is something we don't talk about enough. Maybe that's the difference, Rachelle.


RACHELLE AKUFFO: It's true because people do tend to use that last day to rest. So maybe that is the right balance.