Four-day work week gets the tick

19 Jul, 2018

Reduced working hours without a cut in pay has proved a “resounding success” in analysis of an eight week long trial at trustee company Perpetual Guardian.

Professor of human resource management at AUT Business School, Dr Jarrod Haar, was one of two academic researchers called in to test the impact of a four-day working week.

Over trial period in March and April the company tested a four-day work week across its 240-person business. Perpetual Guardian gave every employee a day off each week at full pay with the aim of empowering a staff-led discussion about engagement and productivity.

The key areas the organisation sought to measure included work-life balance, engagement, organisational commitment and work stimulation. All showed positive increases – a powerful combination that leads to job satisfaction, says Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes.

“Our leadership team reported that there was broadly no change in company outputs pre- and during the trial. They perceived no reduction in job performance and the survey data showed a marginal increase across most teams,” says Barnes.

When looking at job satisfaction, engagement and retention, Professor of human resource management at AUT, Jarrod Haar identified these job attitudes as being very high compared to New Zealand data of more than 6,000 employees.

“Already high pre-trial, these significantly increased post-trial and the scores are easily the highest I have seen in my New Zealand data. In summary, employees reported enhanced job attitudes reflecting positive effects from the trial,” says Professor Haar.

In correlation, co-researcher Dr Helen Delaney, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, found many employees expressed a sense of greater voice and empowerment in their work because of the planning discussions that preceded the trial.

“Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” she says.

For detail on the trial impacts read the NZ Herald article or listen to Professor Jarrod Haar and Andrew Barnes talk to Radio NZ.

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