The New Zealand company behind a landmark trial of a four-day working week has declared it a success and will be adopting the new schedule full time.
Two-hundred-and-forty staff at Perpetual Guardian – a company which manages trusts – wills and estate planning – trialled a four-day working week over March and April this year – working four eight-hour days but getting paid for five.
Academics who studied the trial found staff at the firm’s offices around the country reported lower stress levels – higher levels of job satisfaction and an improved sense of work-life balance.
Perpetual Guardian’s founder Andrew Barnes said staff could choose whether to opt into a four-day week and lawyers had been consulted to ensure the new system would abide by New Zealand employment law and conditions.
Workers who chose not to opt into the four-day week would still be offered flexible options such as starting or finishing early to avoid traffic congestion or manage their childcare commitments.
Barnes initially undertook the trial after observing how much pressure some of his staff were under to manage their personal and professional lives.
Barnes wondered if having an extra day to manage their home life would make his staff more focused and productive in the office – and data and anecdotal evidence has proven his theory an unequivocal success.
‘For us this is about our company getting improved productivity from greater workplace efficiencies … there’s no downside for us’ he said.