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Men did a lot more childcare during the 4-day work week trail

According to a recent trial male workers reported a 27% increase in time spent with their children and helping with child care.

Men did a lot more childcare during the 4-day work week trail
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/ Photo by: Simon Ritzmann

The internet is abuzz with the results coming in from the biggest 4-day workweek trial to date. This trial was organized by the advocacy group 4 Day Week Global (4DWG) 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 this experiment with nearly 3,000 employees.

The companies were provided with different options for how to “meaningfully” shorten their employees’ workweeks, such as giving them one day a week off or reducing their working days in a year to average out to 32 hours per week. The caveat of this experiment is that the workers would receive 100% of the pay for working 80% of the time in exchange for delivering 100% of their usual output.

Image Source: GettyImages/ Photo by: 	Thanasis Zovoilis
Image Source: GettyImages/ Photo by: Thanasis Zovoilis


Little over 1,200 workers completed a final survey about their experience with the four-day workweek and the results showed that 90% of employees said they definitely want to continue with a four-day week, 55% reported 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.



One of the most interesting takeaways of this trial had to do with parental work-life balance. 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.

As a result of the trial, those who took part 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. Additionally, 60% said the four-day workweek allowed them to combine their jobs with caring responsibilities much easier, while 62% said it was easier to have a social life. “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.



As a result of this trial, 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 and would have to share data on their program’s results with Maryland’s Department of Labor.



California and national lawmakers have also introduced similar bills to shorten the work week, though they have since stalled. It is possible that this new study on the four-day workweek could be the extra push needed to move things forward in the US. With the positive results that this trial has shown, companies will likely begin to consider implementing a four-day work week, with more states and countries following suit.

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