Remember Bernie Sander's Call For 4-Day Workweek? Here's What Recent Pilot Studies Found Out - Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Companies are finding it very hard to bring employees back to offices as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Many of them have opted to enforce a return to work by giving ultimatums to employees.

Against this backdrop, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has been crusading for raising minimum wages, in February, threw his weight behind the four-day workweek policy. “With exploding technology and increased productivity, it’s time to move toward a four-day work week with no loss of pay,” the senator said on Twitter.

The senator also said workers “must benefit from technology” and not merely corporate CEOs.

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Trials In Pockets: Trials on a four-day workweek have been conducted across the globe and have been positively received.

A non-profit called 4 Day Week Global in mid-May announced the results of a pilot program run in Australasian countries, which showed that companies reported greater satisfaction with business productivity, performance and ability to attract employees.

The six-month trial, which started in Aug. 2022, found that 95% of the organizations favored the reduced schedule. Companies reported a 44% average reduction in absenteeism and a 9% reduction in resignations over the pilot period.

Employees also responded positively to the reduced schedule, with 96% wanting to continue with it. They indicated that they would want to get 26% to 50% more pay from their next job if they were to go back to a five-day a week schedule.

“The [four-day] week has a remarkable capacity to improve employee well-being and social outcomes. Almost two thirds of employees experienced reductions in burnout, while 38% felt less stressed during the trial. People were exercising more, getting better sleep and generally more satisfied with their time,” said Juliet Shor, lead researcher of the pilot program.

A large-scale study was also conducted in the U.K., in which over 60 companies participated. The results of the study released in February showed that 92% of the companies said they would continue with the shorter workweek.

About 3,000 employees participated in the study, and 71% said they felt reduced burnout levels and saw improvements in physical health and wellbeing.

Will The Trend Catch On In US?  The results of a late-2021 survey of Americans between the ages of 22 to 35 years old who resigned from their jobs showed that 80% supported a four-day workweek according to research firm Jefferies, CNN reported.

While remote working benefits certain sections of the workforce and given only 40% of jobs can be done remotely, the four-day workweek could positively impact 100% of the workforce, according to jobs website

Software giant Microsoft Corp. MSFT tested a shorter workweek in Japan in 2019 and found that productivity jumped by 40% and employees took less time off. The company, therefore, moved to this arrangement on a permanent basis in the country, according to CNN.

For Microsoft, it may not be as tough to replicate the same in the U.S.

Artificial intelligence will make workers more efficient, leading to a broader acceptance of four-day workweeks, said Jefferies analysts in a note released last Monday, Fortune reported.

A survey by 4 Day Week Global found that some companies are opposed to adopting the shorter week as it doesn’t fit the nature of their work, Fortune reported.

Read Next: Everybody Wants The 4-Day Work Week, But Could Wall Street Ever Make It Happen?

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