Pure New Zealand
Are we entering the age of the three-day weekend? It may be okay to start getting your hopes up. A New Zealand company, Perpetual Guardian, did a test-run of a 4-day work week. Their workers ended up being more productive, happier, energetic, and punctual. They aren’t the first company to get similar results. Here’s a closer look at what Perpetual Guardian found.
Two Months of Heaven
The months of March and April were workweek heaven for the employees at Perpetual Guardian, a firm that manages trusts, wills, and estates. Their 240 employees worked four 8-hour days but were paid for five. All the while, Perpetual Guardian paid researchers to study how the change in schedule affected work habits.
The head of the firm was inspired by a study showing that the average British employee was productive for only 2.5 hours out the workday.
Perpetual Guardian found that the strategies their employees came up with were much more efficient. Meetings that used to take two hours took only 30 minutes. Researchers said that “the staff was more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks.”
Psychologists like Anders Ericsson, who specializes in the development of expertise, wasn’t surprised by the results. According to Ericsson, “If you’re pushing people well beyond that time they can really concentrate maximally, you’re very likely to get them to acquire some bad habits.” Studies show that people can only do productive, focused work for four to five hours at a stretch.
Perpetual Guardian Isn’t Alone
Other studies have arrived at the same conclusion. Amazon increased productivity after cutting their workweek down to 30 hours. Employees earned 75% of their normal salary while keeping all their benefits.
A Swedish government study found that employees are less stressed, enjoy work more, and are happier with a shorter workweek. The technology education company Treehouse switched to a 32-hour work week in 2006 and hasn’t turned back. It sounds like it’s time to bombard your bosses’ suggestion box with a request for shorter hours!