The founder of one of the first large organisations to switch to a shorter working week has called on others to follow suit, following a successful eight-week trial. New Zealand finance company Perpetual Guardian switched its 240 staff to a four-day week, with no pay reduction, last November. The result has been higher productivity, increased profits and significantly better staff wellbeing.
The trial was supervised by the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology, who surveyed staff after the eight week experiment. They reported marked improvement compared to a 2017 survey in the same workplace.
Results from the trial, which has been closely watched by trade unions, employers and policy makers globally, indicated a 20% increase in productivity, with staff stress down 13% and work-life balance up 14%.
The company’s chief executive Andrew Barnes said staff initially wondered how they could do five days’ work in four days. “Not only could they do their work in four days but they were better able to do the work in four days. That, for me, was the one result from the research which was extraordinarily surprising,” he said.
Fórsa added its voice to international trade union calls for a move to a four-day week at an international conference hosted at the union’s Dublin office last November.
The conference, born from a number of motions brought to Fórsa’s national conference last May, explored the future of working time with a number of experts in the field, who highlighted the evidence-based positive results of shorter working time.
The conference also heard from Fórsa senior general secretary designate Kevin Callinan, who said that reduced working time was again emerging as one of the central issues in international debates over the future of work.
For more information on the study click HERE and HERE.