NZ company says four-day working week trial success

A New Zealand trust company is set to switch to a four-day working week permanently after an eight-week trial earlier this year proved a success.
“Productivity went marginally up, stress levels dropped,” Andrew Barnes, the chief executive at Perpetual Guardian told the AM Show on Wednesday.
In March the company started the experiment allowing all 240 staff to retain full pay while working only four days a week.
A team of researchers from Auckland University accompanied the trial to observe the impact on the workforce.
“What we’ve seen is a massive increase in engagement and staff satisfaction about the work they do, a massive increase in staff intention to continue to work with the company and we’ve seen no drop in productivity,” Barnes told the New Zealand Herald.
While pre-trial 54 per cent of the employees were happy with their work-life balance, that number rose to 78 per cent during the four-day working week trial.
The study didn’t focus on the the number of days or hours staff worked but on the fact that the company was paying for productivity instead of time worked.
“We’re making a clear distinction here between the amount of hours you spend in the office and what we get out of that,” he said.
The trial showed that the reduced hours had no impact on staff fulfilling their weekly tasks.
“Our leadership team reported that there was broadly no change in company outputs pre and during the trial,” Barnes said.
The survey data even showed a marginal increase across most teams.
The Perpetual Guardian boss is now hoping to start a broader conversation across the New Zealand workforce.
“I would be saying to every company in New Zealand, try this, give it a go.” — dpa