A 4-day work week has become the centre of much speculation and fascination ever since it was tested by a New Zealand firm called Perpectual Guardian. Inspired by a 2016 survey that took place in UK, the founder of Perpetual Guardian, Andrew Barnes decided to experiment the novel idea on his workforce.
The UK survey that was conducted on 1,989 employees revealed that employees usually get sidetracked by off-work discussions and social media during work, rendering them productive for just three hours during an 8-hour shift.
Barnes reduced the typical 40-hour work week to 32 hours and cut down the days from 5 to 4 for 6 weeks. He kept the salaries constant. Workers were paid for a 40-hour work week. Auckland University of Technology was hired to monitor the experiment’s effects.
The experiment proved to be a runaway success as employees reported a ‘24% improvement in work-life balance and 7% decrease in stress levels.’ Managers reported the workers being more creative and that they came to work on time without taking long breaks and early leaves during the 6-week trial period. Team engagement also went up by 20%.
The experiment was enough to convince Barnes to implement a 4-day work week permanently at his firm. Major companies such as KMPG and Deloitte quickly followed suit by implementing a similar model with flexible timings.
Now the question arises: should this model be adopted by other businesses?
Let’s look at how it may help companies.
It’s safe to say that a company that offers a 4 day work week will gain a substantial competitive edge. As the concept is fairly new and has received favorable reviews so far, it can also be one of the motivating factors of making employees stay with your company for longer.
Furthermore, studies reveal that shorter work weeks reduce stress, increase engagement and productivity and lead to a happier workforce.
Beneficial For Mothers
Working mothers can hugely benefit from shorter work weeks. Recent studies show that during a week, 44% of working mothers who are doctors, work 4 or lesser days.
As people work less, they will commute less. This can do wonders for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When companies in Utah implemented a 4 day work week, they found a 13% decrease in energy use and $6 million saved in fuel costs by workers.
The widespread implementation of a 4 day work week, even if it’s temporary will help gauge its long term benefits. Would your company consider the adoption of a shorter work week? Let us know!
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