Tuesday 26 March 2019

Four-day working week trial: Company sees productivity rise and stress levels plummet

Staff showed increased leadership, commitment, stimulation and empowerment. Photo: 4dayweek.co.nz
Staff showed increased leadership, commitment, stimulation and empowerment. Photo: 4dayweek.co.nz
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A company in New Zealand which granted all of its staff a four-day working week last year has said productivity and team engagement levels have risen amongst its workers.

Perpetual Guardian introduced the four-day week on March 5 last year as part of an eight-week trial involving 240 staff members.

Staff were told they could work 30 hours but would be paid for 37.5, and in return they were asked to deliver the same amount of output as in a standard week. 

Now the company, which has continued the initiative, has published a white paper after it worked with The University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to analyse the effects of the four-day working week.

Staff showed increased leadership, commitment, stimulation and empowerment; job performance was maintained; staff stress levels decreased; and work-life balance increased.

Staff stress levels decreased from 45pc to 38pc. Work-life balance scores increased from 54pc to 78pc. Staff leadership increased from 64pc to 82pc, and commitment rose from 68pc to 88pc.

Head of People and Capability Christine Brotherton said: "When we’re giving people the gift of time, the gift to be able to reconnect with their families, to take care of some personal admin, we’re actually starting to make a bit of a difference in people’s lives."

Andrew Barnes said: “When we started inevitably everybody’s reaction is ‘how am I ever going to do my work in four days rather than five. So the fact that the trial indicates that not only could they do their work in four days but at the same time, actually they were better able to do the work in four days: that for me was the one result from the research which was extraordinarily surprising.”

In Ireland last November, Forsa Deputy General Secretary Kevin Callinan told a conference on the Future of Working Time that reduced working time was emerging as one of the central issues in international debates about the future of work.

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Life