Ask most people and they’ll tell you that a five-day work week can sometimes feel like a lifetime. One company in New Zealand has found a way around that, and it’s benefiting both the company and its employees.
Perpetual Guardian, which manages trusts, wills and estates, began an experiment earlier this year, reducing employees’ work weeks to 32 hours from 40, meaning they work four-day weeks. They then had two researchers look into the effects of the change and found that not only were employees happier, but more productive as well.
Overall, there was a 24% improvement in employees’ work-life balance, which gave them more energy when they returned to the office. This renewed energy led employees to be more motivated to increase productivity while in the office. They also decreased wasted time in meetings, they took less breaks, and found ways to inform colleagues when they needed no distractions in order to concentrate on work.
Perpetual isn’t the first company to shift to a four-day work week, but their founder Andrew Barnesbelieves they are the first to pay employees the same amount for working 32 hours instead of 40. Most folks who work four-days work more daily hours to make up for not being in the office, or they get paid less for the shortened week. Barnes also notes that they could actually be saving money with the shorter week since the company was able to save 20% on electricity bills with less staff in the office each day.