Located in the bustling city of Auckland, New Zealand, is a financial services company called Perpetual Guardian. This is no ordinary financial services company in a busy city, this is a company who’s Founder and CEO has taken a bold step into the Future of Work.
Last year Perpetual Guardian trialled a new working model whereby employee’s working week reduced from 5 days to 4 days whilst their salaries remained the same. This didn’t mean working from home on the fifth day, this meant an actual day off. The result? Productivity increased. Stress levels reduced. Higher levels of job satisfaction and an improved sense of work-life balance were reported. The year before 54% of employees felt they could balance their work and home commitments but after this trial this number increased to 78%.
The extra days allowed for people to enjoy leisure activities and to catch up on household chores/life admin, which included things such as spending time with parents, learning a new hobby, exercising outdoors, leisure time with friends (such as enjoying drinks and the views in Waiheke Island, NZ, featured image) and cleaning the house/running errands to free up the whole weekend to enjoy time with loved ones.
Clearly this approach doesn’t lend itself to all business sectors such as retail and hospitality where employee’s physical presence is needed (and in this instance I believe further strategies must be put in place to enhance flexibility and their work-life experience) but the adoption in most other sectors could be possible and I am pleased to see some early adopters in the UK. Over the last year Synergy Vision (communications agency), Elektra Lighting (lighting design company), Lara Intimates (lingerie company) and Intrepid Camera (photographic equipment) have all introduced this way of working. Wellcome Trust the world’s second biggest research donor are trialling the 4 day working week this autumn.
I believe recruitment, which makes up a big part of my background, lends itself brilliantly to a 4 -day working week. In fact, often the top performers in my previous company were the part-time mothers. Wouldn’t it be great to open this up across the board to everyone, levelling the playing field for men and women, parents and non-parents. For the last 6 months of my recruitment career I went down to 4 days per week and I loved it and my work was not detrimentally affected, in fact my performance was better. I had four days to get my head down and work hard knowing I had a 3 day weekend to catch up on life admin but also enjoy some downtime. This made a big difference to my sense of wellbeing and I felt on top of life.
Would working 4 days per week (with the same salary) transform your quality of life? How would you use this day? Will this become a trend in the city of London? I for one, am certainly championing it.