Four-Day Work Week Proves Incredibly Successful In New Zealand
Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand completed a landmark trial earlier this year, looking at how employees are effected by a 4-day work week rather than the traditional 5-day work week. The company, which manages trusts, wills, and estate planning, trialed the four-day work week between March and April.
Two-hundred and forty employees participated in the experiment, where they worked four 8-hour days per week, but got paid for five. The study found that 78% of employees felt like they could successfully manage their work-life balance, 24 percent higher than their response in November last year.
Founder of Perpetual Guardian Andrew Barnes came up with the idea in an attempt to offer his employees a better work-life balance. Barnes wanted to help his employees focus more whilst in the office, but also provide them with more time to live and have other commitments.
Professor Jarrod Haar from Auckland University of Technology found that job and life satisfaction increased across the board, with employees being more productive and performing better at their jobs. The human resource management professor also found that their home-life became more enjoyable as well.
In November 2017 just over half of the employees at Perpetual Guardian – 54% – felt like they could effectively manage their work and home commitments, however after the trial ended in April, this number jumped by almost half; to 78%. The study also found that stress levels decreased by 7 percent, and satisfaction increased by 5 percent. Employee’s commitment, stimulation and sense of empowerment at work also increased significantly during the four-day working week.
Lecturer from the University of Auckland Business School, Helen Delaney, said that employees’ motivation and commitment to work increased because they were included in the planning of the experiment. The employees who participated in the experiment helped design how the 4-day work week would be structured as to not impact productivity.
“Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” Delaney said.
Barnes has took the results of this study to his board to discuss whether a four-day work week could become the norm for employees of Perpetual Guardian.