actual work-life balance

The 4-Day Work Week Trial Showed Men Spent Way More Time On Childcare

The time men spent looking after their children rose by 27%.

Originally Published: 
Young dad with kids enjoying breakfast together in the morning; Results of the largest 4 day work we...
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The internet is abuzz with the results coming in from the biggest 4 day work week trial to date.

Organized by the advocacy group 4 Day Week Global, in collaboration with the research group Autonomy as well as researchers at Boston College and the University of Cambridge, dozens of UK companies took part in trial of the four-day work that included nearly 3,000 employees.

Companies that participated in the trial were given different options for how to “meaningfully” shorten their employees’ workweeks — from giving them one day a week off to reducing their working days in a year to average out to 32 hours per week.

The caveat? The experiment uses a 100-80-100 model which means workers get 100% of the pay for working 80% of the time in exchange for delivering 100% of their usual output.

A little over 1,200 workers completed a final survey about their experience with the four-day work week.

Several interesting conclusions were drawn from the trial — like 90% of employees saying they definitely want to continue with a four-day week, 55% reporting an increase in their ability at work, and 15% noting that literally no amount of money would make them go back to a five-day schedule.


Even more promising? 92% of the companies who participated want to continue the model, based on employee happiness and a 35% increase in revenue on average.

However, one of the more interesting takeaways had to do with parental work-life balance. Specificall, that it helped close the gender gap in childcare at home.

As a result of the trail, data showed that male workers spent 27% more time with their children and helping with child care according to time diaries they kept during the trial. By comparison, female participants reported an increase of 13% in childcare.

“It is wonderful to see that we can shift the dial and start to create more balance of care duties in households,” Charlotte Lockhart, founder and managing director of 4DWG, told CNN.

Those who took part in the trial were also less likely to report that they felt they did not have enough time in the week to take care of their children, grandchildren or older people in their lives.

Another 60% said the four day work week allowed them to combine their jobs with caring responsibilities much easier, while 62% said it was easier to have a social life.

While both men and women benefited from the new schedule, “women’s experience is generally better,” Dr. Dale Whelehan, chief executive of 4DWG, said in a press release.

With an extra day for household duties, time to exercise, and overall more free time to spend with kids, it’s no surprise that workers, especially moms, found the 4 day work week to be highly beneficial for their mental health.

“This is the case for [reduced] burnout, life and job satisfaction, mental health and reduced commuting time,” Whelehan continued.

While this is promising news for parents in the UK, what’s happening here in the US? States like Maryland are toying with the idea of a shortened work week.

Legislators in Maryland's Democratic-controlled House and Senate are considering a bill that would offer state tax credits to companies that agree to try out a 32-hour workweek.

To qualify for the credit, employers would have to participate in the program for no less than one year and no more than two. They would have to share data on their program’s results with Maryland’s Department of Labor.

Maryland isn't the only state looking to cut work ours. California and national law makers have introduced similar bills to shorten the work week, though they have since stalled. Could this new study be the extra push needed to move things forward in the US?

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