Shorter Work Week?

October 8, 2018

In the “Please let this catch on everywhere” file, a New Zealand financial services company might make permanent a four-day week, after a company owner declared he could find “no downside” to a pilot program.

According to The New York Times, Perpetual Guardian, a 240-strong company based out of Auckland, experimented for two months with paying its employees for a full 40-hour week, but requiring them to only work 32.

After two months, the company’s employees were asked to share their thoughts -- and they reported an improved work/life balance, lower stress, and increased productivity compared to their old five-day-a-week grind.

Helping the company out with the experiment were researchers from the University of Auckland, who found hard evidence of the employees’ satisfaction: the workers took fewer days off, were on time more often, took fewer breaks, and left work early less frequently than they used to.

What’s more, the workers slashed two hour meetings to 30 minutes, and colleagues understood the need to not distract each other the way they might have in the past.

After the two months, employees were given the option to stay on a four-day week, or work shorter hours over five. ”’For us, this is about our company getting improved productivity from greater workplace efficiencies… there’s no downside for us,” company owner Andrew Barnes said.

“Everyone has to be committed and take it seriously for us to create a viable long-term model for our business,” he added.

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