Four-day working week trial at Perpetual Guardian a Success

The Kiwi boss who trialled giving his staff a full salary for four days’ work says it was a success and that he wants it to become permanent at his Auckland company.

Andrew Barnes, the chief executive at Perpetual Guardian, says he’s already made a recommendation to his board to take the policy beyond the initial eight –week trial.

“The next thing is that I need to get the board to approve the recommendations in the next few weeks,” Barnes told the Herald.

During March and April, Perpetual Guardian conducted what was essentially a corporate experiment in allowing the company’s 240-person staff to retain full pay as well as a three-day weekend.

To ensure an objective analysis, Barnes invited academic researchers Jarrod Haar, a professor of human resource management at AUT, Dr Helen Delaney, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, into the building to observe the impact of the trial on the workforce.

From the outset, there was always the risk that reducing work hours would increase the stress on staff to achieve objectives while also leading to lower levels of output as working time was cut by a fifth.

But, as the trial rolled on, the researchers found quite the opposite to occur.

“What we’ve seen is a massive increase in engagement and staff satisfaction about the work they do, a massive increase in staff intention to continue to work with the company and we’ve seen no drop in productivity,” said Barnes.

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