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Are Four-Day Workweeks the Key to Success? New Study Says Yes

posted: 08/06/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Young black businesswoman explaining business strategy to the staff in the office. Mixed team of entrepreneurs brainstorming
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When Friday afternoon rolls around, many of us are feeling burned out from the work week and ready for the weekend. According to new study, the cure those Friday feelings may not be the weekend but a four day work week.

For the study, all 240 employees of Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand company that handles trusts, wills, and estates, worked four days a week but were still paid the same wage as if they worked five days. The study lasted for eight weeks and the company hired two researchers to document what happened inside the company during the four-day work week.

According to the New York Times, employers immediately saw a 24 percent increase in productivity. Employees reported a better work-life balance and felt more energized when they returned for a new week of work. So this seems like a win/win for employees and employers.

Those dreaded staff meetings, they changed too. The report said that all meetings were shortened from two hours to just 30 minutes. Just imagine how much work could be done just from cutting down those long, drawn-out meetings.

"Supervisors said staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn't leave early or take long breaks," said Jarrod Haar, a human resources professor at Auckland University of Technology. "Their actual job performance didn't change when doing it over four days instead of five."

So what did employees do instead of working--whatever they wanted! From spending more time with their families, to exercising and working in their gardens and even cooking more, employees were able to do more of what they loved without feeling burned out from work.

Andrew Barnes, the company's founder, said he came up with the idea for a four-day workweek after reading a report that suggests people spent less than three hours of their work day actually being productive.

Could we see the four-day work week trend in America? Maybe but right now, most Americans say they are working 47 hour a week. So it may be a while before we see major shifts with this trend here in America. While this four-day work week was just a test at Perpetual Guardian, the company says they are considering making this a full time option at their office.