'No downside': New Zealand company adopts four-day week after trial

A New Zealand firm has adopted a four-day work week following a successful trial.

Perpetual Guardian is offering workers a four-day work week.

Perpetual Guardian is offering workers a four-day work week. Source: AAP

A financial firm in New Zealand will allow workers to opt into a four-day work week after a successful trial which it said led to better productivity and less stress among workers. 

Auckland-based trust company Perpetual Guardian trialled the four-day week earlier this year. 

It said employees were happier during the trial and saw a 20 per cent increase in productivity, which has resulted in the adoption of the scheme from November. 

Under the scheme, the firm would allow full-time workers one day off each week with full pay, provided they meet their performance targets.

During the trial period, 78 per cent of workers said they had a better work-life balance, something which guided the decision to make the scheme permanent, the company's founder Andrew Barnes said. 

“For us, this is about our company getting improved productivity from greater workplace efficiencies. There’s no downside for us,” Mr Barnes said.

“The right attitude is a requirement to make it work - everyone has to be committed and take it seriously for us to create a viable long-term model for our business.”

Staff who choose not to opt into the scheme would instead negotiate other flexibility arrangements, such as finishing earlier or starting later on any given day.

“The opt-in process is individual, not team-based, so each team will establish a workable plan to accommodate their members’ needs,” Mr Barnes said.

A financial services firm in New Zealand is adopting a four-day work week.
Source: AAP

Employees who opt-in to the shorter work week would continue to accrue leave entitlements.

Lawyers have been consulted to ensure the four-day week scheme meets New Zealand’s employment law, Mr Barnes said.

New Zealand’s Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said he was intrigued by the trial’s results.

"I think it's very interesting,” he told Newshub.

“I'm really keen to work with any businesses that are looking at how they can be more flexible for their staff and how they can look to improve productivity whilst working alongside their staff and protecting terms and conditions."

Published 3 October 2018 at 11:56am, updated 3 October 2018 at 1:39pm
By Evan Young