What would life be like if we only worked 4 days per week? And we’re not talking about trying to cram 40 hours into four days, with long 10-hour days. We’re talking about working four 8-hour days instead of five, with the same pay. From an employee point of view, this sounds amazing but how about from an employer’s point of view? Wouldn’t that mean you only get 80% of your work done but still having to pay out 100% of salaries? Would staff increase productivity? The results of an experiment a company in New Zealand conducted will surprise you.
Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand company specialising in managing trusts and wills, trialled a 4-day work week for eight weeks. The company still paid their employees as if they were working 5-day weeks, so the employees didn’t lose out during the experiment. The results were astounding. The company found that their employees were happier, more engaged and, most importantly, produced the same amount of work. The company is now investigating how to make this change permanent.
When asked about paying the same for fewer hours, the company responded, they were paying for productivity, not for hours present.
The experiment did not just increase productivity
Here are some interesting statistics:
- Employees’ sense of work-life balance increased from 54% to 78%
- Job stress reduced from 45% to 38%
- Employees’ commitment to their employer increased from 68% to 88%
In addition, job satisfaction as well as satisfaction with life in general improved. Employees’ sense of engagement with their work went up, and they found their work more stimulating and more empowered. They also felt more confidence in their leadership team.
Overall, staff improved their time keeping by arriving on time, not leaving early and scheduling their workdays more effectively. Furthermore, meeting times were reduced. All this helped to improve employees’ productivity.
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So, what if more companies implemented this change? There would be 20% fewer cars on the roads during rush hour, easing congestion in busy cities. Employees could use the extra day for education, helping them to be more competitive in the workplace. With another day to recover and refuel, mental health issues could be reduced. The advantages are much further reaching then simply more time off for employees.