NZ company makes four-day working week permanent

After trialing a four-day working week for its 250 staff, a New Zealand employer will be adopting the model permanently

NZ company makes four-day working week permanent

After trialing a four-day working week for its 250 staff, New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian has announced they will be adopting the model permanently.

In the eight weeks between March and April this year, the trust company conducted a unique corporate experiment by allowing staff to only work four days a week - all other employment conditions, including remuneration, were unchanged.

According to a survey completed after the trial, work/life balance improved significantly from 54% in 2017 to 78% in the post-trial survey. Moreover, staff stress levels dropped from 45% pre-trial to 38% post-trial.

The research also found productivity had increased by 20%, and employees were more engaged and enthusiastic.

Two of New Zealand’s major universities were utilised to measure the outcomes and publish results in order to ensure an objective analysis, and lawyers had been consulted to ensure the model was consistent with employment laws.

The workplace relations minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, described the findings of the four-day work week as very interesting, and said he was keen to work with businesses exploring new models for the modern-day office.

Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian founder and CEO, was inspired to conduct the trial by several global productivity reports and their recent internal survey, which asked staff how productivity, innovation and engagement can grow.

Barnes based the theory on the idea that the company want their people to be the best they can be while they’re in the office, but also at home.

Moreover, Christine Brotherton, head of people and capability at the company, was enthusiastic about the concept after looking at research showing a correlation between employee engagement and productivity.

"If employees are engaged with their job and employer, they are more productive," she said.

“We believe efficiency will come with more staff focus and motivation."


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