Four-day week more productive? The evidence is in…

28 Mar 2019 By Lauren R Brown

A New Zealand-based company has made the change permanent after experiencing 'no downsides'

While working less may seem counter-intuitive, analysis of a four-day week at a company in New Zealand has proven less could in fact be more.

Estate planning agency Perpetual Guardian trialled the strategy with its 240 staff in October last year but has now permanently implemented the change as founder Andrew Barnes said there had been “no downsides”.

Academics from the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology analysed results of the eight-week pilot and found the switch had resulted in a 20 per cent rise in productivity, increased profits and improved staff wellbeing. 

Employees’ stress levels reduced from 45 per cent to 38 per cent, while work-life balance scores increased from 54 per cent to 78 per cent. Employees were paid at their usual 37.5-hour rate. 

In addition, 86 per cent of employees said they felt “empowered” compared to 66 per cent before the trial, and 88 per cent said they were committed to their role, compared to 68 per cent.

Barnes said the decision to test the new way of working was “the right thing to do”. He added: “We want people to be the best they can be in the office, but also at home.”

Head of people and capability Christine Brotherton said: “If employees are engaged with their job and employer, they are more productive. The trial was a valuable way to test our theory that efficiencies will come with more staff focus and motivation.”

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