A pilot study in New Zealand found staff were happier and 20% more productive. Lorna Davidson, CEO of short-term recruitment specialists, RedWigWam, shares her thoughts.
Last November, New Zealand financial services company, Perpetual Guardian, switched its 240 staff from a five-day to a four-day week whilst maintaining their pay. Interestingly, the pilot found that productivity increased and there was no drop in the amount of work completed. The company founder is now calling for other business to take note after staff stress levels went down from 45% to 38% and work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78%.*
Lorna Davidson, CEO of short-term recruitment specialists, RedWigWam, comments:
“I think a four-day working week is a great idea- anything that can help improve work-life balance should always be looked into. If I can increase my staff’s productivity, stress-levels and have them commute one less day a week then why wouldn’t I?
“We live in an age where some workers value their time more than their wage. It may sound foreign to some, but the ability to have less hours can be more beneficial to those who have a young family for example. Times need to change and employees shouldn’t be shunned or have a reduction in wages for wanting a better work-life balance.
“A four-day week may be a distant dream for many UK business at the moment and understandably it’s not possible in all industries, however it’s well documented that the emerging Millennial, and Gen Z workforces aren’t looking for a regular Monday-Friday, 9-5 job. Moreover, they want to be able to work flexibly, with hours to suit their lifestyles.
“Shouldn’t businesses be able to utilise technology to allow their teams to work where and when it suits? If your worker’s creative mind functions best at 4am – then allow that. There’s no issue for the parents in your team to work around school hours. There are numerous tech products out there which facilitate this – we utilise some in our office at RedWigWam, allowing us to be a fully functioning team, even if we aren’t all physically in the office together.
“Offering flexible working conditions is now a key way to gain employee’s respect, whilst increasing productivity and happiness at work. If employers give their workforce that trust it can really increase staff commitment and empowerment. Ultimately employees appreciate being treated like adults and this shows in their work and attitude.”