Conference on the Four Day Week
Friday, April 21st, 2023 | Heights Room in Corcoran Commons | Registration
Please note that this conference will only be available to attend in person and will not be streamed online.
In the 1970s, there was considerable interest in a four day workweek, as automation and productivity growth put increased leisure within reach. However, stagflation, the worldwide recession of 1980-82 and the subsequent turn to neo-liberalism eroded interest in shorter work time. While Western European countries have reduced working hours since then, most of the reductions have come via longer vacations. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation have led to renewed interest in reduced working hours, in particular the four-day week. As employees burn out and companies struggle to find and retain qualified workers, there is a wave of experimentation by organizations and even governments to shorten the workweek with no reduction in pay.
More than 150 companies with more than 2500 employees have implemented four-day, 32-hour schedules as part of a global research trial for which Boston College is the lead academic institution. The Four Day Week Conference will bring together company representatives and researchers to discuss findings from the global trials and collectively explore the four-day workweek. Attendees will hear from participating companies about the advantages and challenges of instituting reduced work time, how they prepared to make the shift, and lessons learned. Researchers will present on the effects of a shortened workweek on company productivity and performance, employee impact (stress, work-life balance, well-being and time use), and the environmental impact of reduced work time.
Generously funded by Boston College Institute for the Liberal Arts and co-sponsored by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, the School of Social Work, the Irish Studies Program, and the Departments of Economics, History, Sociology, and Theology.
Schedule and Registration
Friday, April 21, 2023 | Heights Room in Corcoran Commons | Registration
John Butler, S.J., Boston College
Juliet Schor, Boston College
|9:30 - 10:45 am|
Session 1: 4 day week trials: research results
Orla Kelly, University College Dublin
Brendan Burchell, University of Cambridge
Phyllis Moen, University of Minnesota
Charlotte Rae, University of Sussex
Moderator and discussant: Matt Rutledge, Boston College
|10:45 - 11:00 am|
|11:00 am-12:00 pm|
Session 2: Intersectionality and the 4 Day Week
Wen Fan, Boston College
Adia Harvey Wingfield, Washington University in St. Louis
Moderator and discussant: Shawn McGuffey, Boston College
|12:00 - 1:30 pm|
Lunch and Keynote
President Lynn Wooten, Simmons University
|1:30 - 2:45 pm|
Session 3: Company experiences
Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, 4 Day Week Global
Adam Husney, Healthwise
Matt Juniper, PRAXIS
Shanti Mathew, Public Policy Lab
Liz Powers, ArtLifting
Moderator and discussant: Joe O’Connor, Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence
|2:45 - 3:00 pm|
|3:00 - 4:15 pm|
Session 4: Would you like a four-day week?
Interactive groups led by BC faculty and company representatives
|4:15 - 4:30 pm|
Entrepreneur Andrew Barnes has made a career of market-changing innovation and industry digitisation leading and transforming companies in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In 2018, he made international headlines across the world with an idea that he believed would raise productivity in the workplace, while also contributing to the personal wellbeing of his staff – a four day work week.
Entrepreneur Andrew Barnes has made a career of market-changing innovation and industry digitisation leading and transforming companies in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In 2018, he made international headlines across the world with an idea that he believed would raise productivity in the workplace, while also contributing to the personal wellbeing of his staff – a four day work week. Through his company – New Zealand's largest corporate trustee company, Perpetual Guardian – Andrew announced a four day week trial, with staff receiving an extra day off work, on full pay, each week. The trial was an undeniable success, sparking widespread international interest and winning a number of global awards.
Today, Barnes is considered the pioneer and architect of the global four day week movement. As co-founder of 4 Day Week Global with his partner, Charlotte Lockhart, they are conducting the largest ever trials, currently taking place across the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. More than 250 companies around the world with over 100,000 staff are taking part in the trials to change their workplaces combined with a global research programme involving academics from leading universities including Boston College, Cambridge, Oxford and many more.
Additionally, in the last 4 years Andrew has worked with companies such as Unilever and has been part of the advisory process for close to a dozen country and regional governments who are all effecting change to the way their populations will work now and in the future. Recently he was recognised Introducing The Forbes Future Of Work 50 as a leader in workplace innovation.
Andrew and Charlotte’s vision is to provide a community environment for companies, researchers/academics and interested parties to be able to connect and advance this idea as part of the future of work. Through this work he is on the advisory boards of both the US and Ireland 4 day week campaigns and the board of the newly created Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University and is a founding member of the World Wellbeing Movement.
In 2019 he wrote The 4 Day Week book, as a how to guide for companies trying to reduce work hours and increase productivity.
Professor Brendan Burchell works in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. He is also President at Magdalene College – one of Cambridge’s oldest colleges.Brendan’s research focuses on people’s working lives and their wellbeing. Over the years he has drawn on his background in psychology, economics and sociology to cover topics such as unemployment, job insecurity and the quality of work in Europe, as well as self-employment in the UK and Africa. For the last few years he has focused on how much or how little we should work; in 2019 his research suggested that paid work for just one day a week is just fine. In 2023 he is just finishing a large UK study of working time reduction involving 60 companies that have adopted a four day week.
Brendan tries to live his life according to his own research and two years ago reduced his pay and hours of work to 60%, although he admits it is sometimes a struggle to fit his teaching, research and running a college into three days a week.
Jack Butler, S.J.
The Haub Vice President for University Mission and Ministry
Jack Butler heads BC's Division of University Mission and Ministry, which develops and coordinates the University-wide process of maintaining and promoting the distinctive academic and societal mission of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution. Its departments and programs include Campus Ministry, the Office of First Year Experience, Intersections, the Center for Student Formation, the University Mission and Ministry Service Center, the Center for Ignatian Spirituality, the Montserrat Coalition, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, and the Ministry to Priests.
Jack entered the Society of Jesus in 1991. He earned a BA from St. Thomas University, an MA from Providence College, an MS from Loyola University, an STL from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and a PhD from Loyola University. He is trained in counseling and has worked in prison ministry, hospital treatment centers, the education apostolate, and formation within the Society of Jesus. He joined BC in 2002.
Wen Fan is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She received her Ph.D. in 2015 from the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She also holds an M.S. in Statistics from the Department of Statistics at the University of Minnesota. Currently Fan is working on three projects. The first is an NSF project on continuities, changes, and disparities in the experiences of remote and hybrid work in the time of COVID-19 (with Phyllis Moen). The second is on the worker, organizational, and societal impacts of a four day workweek trial that is currently ongoing in a wide range of organizations in the U.S. and other high-income countries (with Juliet Schor and Orla Kelly). In a third project, she is a co-investigator studying the pandemic-precipitated social change and mental health impacts in China (funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) (PI: Yue Qian).
Throughout his career, Dr. Adam Husney has advocated for patients to take an active role in their own health and health care decisions. His patient-care experience and broad knowledge of evidence-based medicine, coupled with his passion for strong patient-provider relationships and informed patients has made him a respected leader at Healthwise.
Adam works closely within Healthwise and with clients from the provider and payer industries to create health information that helps meet the Healthwise mission of helping people make better health decisions so that all people can get the care that is right for them and live their healthiest lives.
Adam received his Bachelor of Science in neuroscience from Brown University and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Michigan and is board-certified in family medicine. Adam practiced at the Hitchcock Clinic in Concord, New Hampshire, before moving to Idaho with his family in 1998 to practice clinical medicine there.
Adam joined Healthwise in 2002 as a Medical Director and in 2016 became the Chief Medical Officer. In 2018 he was named Chief Executive Officer.
Matt Juniper is a strategic communications specialist and an associate partner at PRAXIS Public Relations based out of Toronto, Canada. Matt oversees the agency’s digital & social practice, specializing in building digital strategies that are rooted in the principles of communication and storytelling. Matt applies this to all aspects of digital from content strategy to digital media buying and everything in between. Matt is also a leading member of PRAXIS' 4-Day Week Committee, designing the parameters of the company's current pilot program that began in October 2022. Through the process of training and preparing for the 4-Day Week, Matt has become a passionate advocate for greater work life balance and for working more efficiently, not necessarily longer.
When Matt isn’t building innovative communications programs for multinational brands, he enjoys exploring and disconnecting, enjoying the beautiful Canadian outdoors or travelling across the globe.
Dr. Orla Kelly is an Assistant Professor in Social Policy at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin. Her research interests include sustainable human well-being, eco-social policies, sustainable development, and the social dimensions of climate change. Dr Kelly leads an international consortium of academics investigating how universities can drive climate action. She is also a coinvestigator on the research team investigating the economic, social and environmental impacts of reduced working time trials coordinated by the 4-day Week Global campaign. She previously worked as a Research Associate (2010-2015) and a Research Fellow. (2015-2020) at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University. She received her PhD in environmental sociology from Boston College. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Center for Human Rights, NUI Galway, and an MSc. in International Business from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Her work has appeared in academic journals such as Social Forces, Sustainability Science, International Journal of Educational Development, and Human Rights Quarterly.
Charlotte Lockhart is an award-winning speaker, presenter and business leader, and additionally, an investor and philanthropist with more than 30 years experience in multiple industries in New Zealand, the Middle East and globally.
As co-founder and managing director for 4 Day Week Global she works promoting internationally the benefits of a productivity-focused and reduced-hour workplace. Through this, she is on the board of the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University and the advisory boards of the US campaign and the Ireland campaign for the 4 day week. In her role she is a sponsor of the World Wellbeing Movement alongside a number of leading global partners. In addition, Charlotte is working with a number of central and regional governments to help create an equitable method to transition to reducing work hours across an entire economy.
Today, Charlotte is considered the pioneer of the global four day week movement. As co-founder of 4 Day Week Global with her partner, Andrew Barnes, they are conducting the largest ever trials, currently taking place across the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. More than 250 companies around the world with over 100,000 staff are taking part in the trials to change their workplaces combined with a global research programme involving academics from leading universities including Boston College, Cambridge, Oxford and many more.
As an experienced speaker, she encourages organisations to look at what they can change to become future workplaces and ready for the 21st century and beyond. Forbes Magazine recently recognised her as one of the Future of Work 50. Charlotte is focused on changing the way we work today to a better, more inclusive experience for everyone and every economy.
In her free time, Charlotte collaborates with art and cultural organisations and spearheads a number of sponsorships to increase opportunities across the region.
Shanti is a nonprofit leader who believes in our individual power to help each other flourish in community. She is the managing director of the Public Policy Lab, a nonprofit that partners with government agencies—and the communities they serve—to make service systems more equitable, dignified, and effective.
In addition to managing PPL’s daily operations, Shanti has led work with the NYC Administration of Children's Services, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Homeless Services, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, among many other public-interest organizations. Outside the PPL, she has worked on the ground-level of tech startups and has produced large-scale creative events.
Shanti holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. From the Illinois Institute of Technology, she holds a master’s degree in design and a certificate in public management. Shanti is involved with the Brooklyn Public Library, Choate Rosemary Hall, and GallopNYC.
On weekends, you’ll find her playing with her favorite horses and jumping over fences together.She can be found on Twitter @ShantiMMathew.
C. Shawn McGuffey, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology and past Director of African & African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. His professional work primarily highlights how race, gender, sexuality and social class both constrain and create the choices survivors pursue in the aftermath of trauma in the U.S. and throughout the African Diaspora. He is the recipient of multiple awards, most recently the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ Arlene Kaplan Daniels Award for the best article on women and social justice in 2022, and the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology the same year. His award-winning research has appeared in Gender & Society, Social Problems, Du Bois Review, and Journal of Black Psychology. The Ford Foundation, Black Rape Survivors Project, a Research Incentive Grant, and the Institute for Liberal Arts have supported his research. He has given invited lectures at the Center for Children and Childhood Studies at Rutgers University, Harvard University, MIT, and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. In Boston he has led and served on the boards of multiple non-profits that address issues of racial justice and LGBT rights, domestic violence, and youth empowerment; and has been a contributor to Basic Black on WGBH public television.
Phyllis Moen is professor of sociology, holds a McKnight presidential chair, and served asdirector of the Life Course Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging at the Universityof Minnesota as well as founding director of the Bronfenbrenner Center at Cornell University. Dr.Moen’s research agenda focuses on the effects of macrostructural changes—especially aroundpaid work—as they shape health and well-being at the intersections of gender, age/family lifestage, race, and class. She investigates the timing, duration, sequencing, and health effects ofemployment, working conditions, and retirement as they play out in distinctly gendered andunequal life courses. The award-winning Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What WeCan Do About It (with Erin Kelly, Princeton University Press, 2020) captures the harmful (andsalutary) health, well-being, and family impacts of certain job conditions, including shifts inemployee control over their working times and places, using natural experiment and randomized field experiment designs to capture causal processes. Other award-winning books include The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream, with Pat Roehling (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005) and Encore Adulthood: Boomers on the Edge of Risk, Renewal, and Purpose (Oxford University Press, 2016). Her current work with Wen Fan examines the experiences of remote workers during COVID-19. Together with Juliet Schor and Wen Fan, she is investigating the effects on employees of corporate moves to a four-day work week.
Joe is the Director and Co-founder of the world's first Center of Excellence in Work Time Reduction, a new global initiative which has been launched in partnership with leading people-first transformation company Curium Solutions. Previously, as the CEO and global pilot program manager of 4 Day Week Global, Joe led the design and implementation of four-day week trials all over the world, supporting hundreds of employers and thousands of employees to make the transition to reduced-hour, productivity-focused working in 2022.
Over the past year, Joe lived in New York City as a visiting research scholar with Cornell University, leading a research project on work time reduction. He is now based in Toronto, where he heads up Canadian operations for Curium Solutions in addition to directing the Work Time Reduction CoE. Joe is also formerly the chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, having founded the coalition in 2019, where he developed the world's first four-day week pilot program and research project in 2021. He has been active on the issue of working time reduction since 2018, when he organized a major international conference on ‘The Future of Working Time’.
Liz Powers is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of ArtLifting, a business that champions artists impacted by housing insecurity and disabilities. ArtLifting artists have earned millions through the support of 400 corporate customers and individual supporters spread across 5 continents. Liz was selected for Forbes “30 Under 30” and Boston Globe’s “Game Changers.” Liz has worked in social service and given speeches about social change for the last 15 years. She has given keynotes to crowds of 5,000. She has spoken at TEDx, Lean StartUp Conference, FedEx HQ, Fidelity, and South By Southwest. Liz has an AB, cum laude, from Harvard College and MSc from the University of Edinburgh. Her impact has been featured on the TODAY Show, New York Times, TED.com, CBS, ABC, and the Washington Post.
Dr. Charlotte Rae is a psychologist specialising in the biological basis of wellbeing. She trained in psychology and neuroscience at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, using MRI brain scanning to understand how the mind works. Encouraged by the international data showing the benefits of a 4 day week for staff health, she set up the Sussex 4 Day Week Study to assess the changes that take place in mind, brain, and body when staff switch to a 4 day week. This includes MRI scans, blood tests, and sleep patterns, as well as mental health and workplace performance assessments.
Matthew S. Rutledge is an associate professor of the practice in the Boston College Department of Economics, where he teaches courses in statistics, microeconomic theory, and the public policy of aging. He is also an affiliated researcher at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, where he conducts research on labor market outcomes for older workers, Social Security claiming behavior, disability insurance application, pension coverage, retirement saving, retirement expectations, employer demand for older workers, unemployment insurance, and health insurance coverage. He has also worked for the Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Michigan in the fields of health economics, labor economics, and public finance.
Juliet Schor is an economist and Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She is the lead researcher for on 4DWG trials for companies instituting four day weeks with five days’ pay. She has been researching worktime since the 1980s and is the author of the national best-seller The Overworked American: the unexpected decline of leisure. In 2020 she published After the Gig: how the sharing economy got hijacked and how to win it back, which covered nearly a decade of research on the platform economy. Schor has also researched sustainable consumption and the link between climate change and worktime. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years in the Department of Economics and later, the Committee on Degrees in Women’s Studies. A frequent contributor to public discourse and media, Schor’s Ted talk on “the case for the four day week” has more than 2 million views.
Schor can be found on Twitter @JulietSchor.
Adia Harvey Wingfield
Adia Harvey Wingfield is the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Arts & Sciences and Vice Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research examines how and why racial and gender inequality persists in professional occupations. Professor Wingfield has lectured internationally on her research in this area, and her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Annual Review of Sociology, Gender & Society, and American Sociological Review. She has served as President of both Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) and the Southern Sociological Society (SSS), and is an elected member of the Sociological Research Association. In addition to her academic scholarship, Professor Wingfield writes regularly for mainstream outlets including Slate, The Atlantic, Vox, and Harvard Business Review. She is the recipient of multiple awards including the 2013 Richard A. Lester Award from Princeton University for her book No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men’s Work; the 2018 Public Understanding of Sociology award from the American Sociological Association; and the 2019 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) for her most recent book, Flatlining: Race, Work, and Health Care in the New Economy.
Lynn Perry Wooten
Lynn Perry Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, became the ninth president of Simmons University on July 1, 2020. She is the first African American to lead the university.
Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership—organizational behavior that reveals and nurtures the highest level of human potential—Dr. Wooten is an innovative leader and prolific author and presenter whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator. She first joined a university faculty in 1994 and has served in administrative roles since 2008. Dr. Wooten came to Simmons from Cornell University, where she was the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
Dr. Wooten also has had a robust clinical practice, providing leadership development, education, and training for a wide variety of companies and institutions, from the Kellogg Foundation to Harvard University’s Kennedy School to Google.
With leadership at the core of her work, Dr. Wooten’s research has ranged from an NIH-funded investigation of how leadership can positively alleviate health disparities to leading in a crisis and managing workforce diversity. She is co-author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling book Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership and the upcoming book The Prepared Leader, along with two previous books, Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion (2016) and Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis (2010). Sharing her work at nearly 60 symposia and conferences, she also is the author of nearly 30 journal articles and more than 15 book chapters, as well as managerial monographs and numerous teaching cases.
Dr. Wooten grew up in Philadelphia, where she attended an all-girls high school. She earned a BS in accounting in 1988 from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a Historically Black College, where she graduated as valedictorian; an MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business in 1990; and a PhD in business administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 1995. She received a Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2018.
Ami is an M.A. student in sociology at Boston College. As a research assistant on the 4 Day Week project, Ami works on survey data management and helped coordinate the Four Day Week Conference. Ami’s primary interests are the sociology of climate change, disasters, and urban and community sociology. Her current research project explores how Covid-19 mutual aid groups functioned as community-led disaster response initiatives while also pursuing broader social justice goals.
Youngmin is a PhD student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Youngmin’s primary interest lies in the labor market issues focusing on gender and racial discrimination, economic inequality, and policy evaluation. Her current research investigates the impact of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. Her works also engage in health disparities and life course inequality. Using Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families data, her project explores how experienced discrimination in the labor market affects suicidal ideation among Korean Women.
David Frayne is a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. He coordinated interviews with companies taking part in the 2022 UK pilot of the four-day week, along with his colleague Brendan Burchell. David’s other research interests include experiences of unemployment, the ethics of basic income, and utopian perspectives on work. Originally from Wales, David has also spent time working in the US, as a member of the Department of Philosophy at NYU.
Guolin is a PhD student in sociology at Boston College. She is a research assistant on the 4 Day Week project managing the distribution and data analysis of employee surveys. Her research interests lie in rural development, land rights, and human interactions with the environment.
Campus Map and Parking
Parking is available at the nearby Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue Garages.
Boston College is also accessible via public transportation (MBTA B Line - Boston College).
Boston College strongly encourages conference participants to receive the COVID-19 vaccination before attending events on campus.