One unexpected finding from the 4-day workweek trial: men did a lot more childcare when they worked less
The UK’s 4-day workweek trial has been making headlines lately. For six months beginning in June of last year, about 2,900 workers across 61 companies in the UK worked 80 percent of their usual hours for the same pay (with a promise of delivering 100 percent of their usual results). The workers and companies were then surveyed about their experience, and the survey results were published last week, with staggering results: productivity rose, stress and burnout fell, and the vast majority of the companies that participated planned to fully adopt a 4-day workweek.
But there was one result that was a bit more unexpected: researchers found that when they worked fewer hours, dads did a lot more childcare activities at home. The time male workers spent looking after their kids rose by 27 percent during the trial, while time spent looking after kids by moms rose just 13 percent.
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“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 director of the organization behind the trial, told CNN.
Less surprisingly, only working four days a week made work-life balance a lot easier for all participants with kids. Sixty percent said they were better able to balance their jobs with their parenting responsibilities, and 62 percent said it was easier to have a social life. And while both men and women benefitted, one of the researchers in charge of the trial made sure to emphasize that “women’s experience is generally better.”
Dr. Dale Whelehan added, “This is the case for [reduced] burnout, life and job satisfaction, mental health, and reduced commuting time.”