The 4-day work week
Can we still be productive on a 4-day work week?
A company in New Zealand, Perpetual Guardian, trialed a 4-day work week and found success in productivity, job performance and work-life balance.
Andrew Barnes, founder and CEO of Perpetual Guardian, wanted to find a way to provide his 250 employees a better work-life balance while maintaining client satisfaction or profitability. Barnes asked himself the question, “How do we create a 21st century workplace able to give staff a more balanced life, without changing client experience or profitability for the worse? What if we change the way we think about productivity, no longer associating it with hours worked?”
Their solution? The 4-day work week. In recent years, there has been a movement to encourage companies to shift to 4-day work weeks, and 32 hours instead of 40 hours per week. Barnes decided to trial running the company on a 4-day work week, rather than a 5-day work week. Employees had to restructure their schedule to either accommodate the 4-day work week with their usual hours or 32 flexible work hours per week. The second option was created to accommodate people needing to plan their lives around their job, kids and other responsibilities. Employees were still paid for their 5 days’ worth of work.
The trial was incredibly scientific, measuring for a variety of variable both pre-trial and post-trial. Some variables measured include: job performance; job satisfaction; and stress levels. These are the findings:
Employees were able to maintain their normal job performance in 4 days, as opposed to 5. Staff stress levels were lowered – with a 5-day work week, they measured 45% stress, but after the trial, they recorded 38%. Work-life balance improved significantly – in a 2017 survey, respondents reported 54% work-life balance, but post-trial, they reported 78% work-life balance. Team engagement levels increased – a 2017 survey recorded 64% leadership, 68% commitment, 66% stimulation, and 68% empowerment. Post-trial, they recorded 82% leadership, 88% commitment, 84% stimulation, and 86% empowerment. Importantly, not all results were positive. Some struggled to maintain the same amount of work in less time. In another case, a US start-up called Treehouse also trialed the 4-day work week but found that this schedule negatively affected work performance, stress and work-life balance for their employees.
Do you think the 4-day work week could succeed at your place of employment? Let us know in the comments below!
[Source: Business Tech – https://goo.gl/MgqYiK]
[Source: 4-day work week – https://goo.gl/V1tZSF]