New Zealand considers four-day work week

  • 13 Oct - 19 Oct, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

A four-day work week will be made permanent at a New Zealand company after a trial was so successful it found there was ‘no downside’. Staff reported better productivity, a better work-life balance and lower stress levels after working eight-hours four days a week for two months. The trial at Perpetual Guardian – a financial services firm that manages trusts, wills and estates – involved almost 250 employees across 16 offices.

They worked four days equalling 32 working hours instead of 40 across the week but were still paid for five days. Founder of the Auckland-based company, Andrew Barnes, said there was ‘no downside’ to the new system and that staff reported reaping the benefits of extra downtime.

Barnes said the experiment had potential implications for everything from work-life balance to the gender pay gap and the mental well-being of workers. He said this could motivate employees to produce better work in a shorter time period. The Academics who studied Mr Barnes’ employees said that in November last year, just over half of staff felt they could balance their work and home commitments.