BrightHR, a leading provider of HR software, has released data indicating a significant surge in companies adopting four-day workweek schedules, signalling a potential cultural shift towards shorter workweeks.

The data, sourced from BrightHR’s rota scheduling software utilised by 62,000 UK businesses and nearly one million employees, sheds light on the growing trend of companies exploring the benefits of four-day work schedules.

The concept of a four-day workweek has been steadily gaining traction globally in recent years. In 2022, a six-month pilot program was initiated in the UK, involving 61 organisations and 3,300 employees opting for reduced workdays.

Fast forward to 2024, where nine out of ten of these companies are still embracing the four-day workweek, with over half making it a permanent arrangement for their staff.

Notably, participating employees reported personal life benefits, with 96 percent stating improvement, while 86 percent noted enhanced work performance.

Other countries are following the UK’s lead

Following the UK’s lead, other nations like Germany and Portugal have begun trialling the four-day workweek, with 45 and 39 companies respectively participating in the initiative.

Thea Watson, Chief Growth Officer at BrightHR, comments on the trend, highlighting a 25 percent increase in businesses implementing four-day rotas over the past year alone. She attributes much of this shift to the successful trial period, emphasising the evolving nature of working arrangements throughout history.

Watson underscores the pandemic’s impact on work dynamics, noting the surge in remote and hybrid working models. With the recent legislative change granting employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment, there is potential for further growth in remote work arrangements.

What should employers be cautious of?

However, while the four-day workweek presents promising benefits, Watson urges caution, especially concerning industries requiring round-the-clock operations. She warns of potential challenges such as increased daily productivity demands, which could lead to stress and burnout among employees.

Also, Watson emphasises the importance of employers seeking agreement from employees before implementing changes to contractual terms and conditions, highlighting potential concerns regarding extended work hours or reduced salaries.

As companies navigate the shift towards more flexible working arrangements, the debate surrounding the sustainability and efficacy of the four-day workweek continues to evolve.

While initial trials have shown promise, careful consideration of industry-specific needs and employee well-being remains paramount in determining its long-term viability.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.