Perpetual Guardian makes four-day week permanent


Perpetual Guardian’s 4 day week trial results are in

Trust company Perpetual Guardian has made its four-day week permanent after its trial was a hit among employees and boosted productivity.

The company claimed productivity had increased by 20 per cent during the trial, and staff were more engaged and enthusiastic.

Perpetual Guardian has more than 240 employees and will make the four-day week an option for all its full-time workers from November.

For Perpetual Guardian’s Andrew Barnes, a four-day working week is all about incentivising staff.

Founder and managing director Andrew Barnes said there was no downside to introducing the four-day week.

“We have proven the concept and developed a model workable for our business, and we have established a KPI for the leaders in our business to ensure productivity and customer service are maintained,” 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.”

Employees opting in to the four-day week will be eligible for a weekly “rest day”, provided they meet their weekly productivity objectives, and will still be paid for five days.

Annual leave entitlements will be based on the contractual hours as set out in each individual employment agreements.

Barnes said some of its changes were just age-old time management practices.

For instance, employees who did not opt in could negotiate flexibility in their hours across the five-day week, such as starting and finishing earlier.

The company is also finding ways to accommodate its part-time workers and teams that have season peaks of work during the year.

University of Auckland Business School professor Helen Delaney, who studied the trial, said the viability of a model focused on productivity and wellbeing required the four-day week be staff-led.

“My initial analysis suggests that for the greatest chances of success, employees need to be involved in decisions about how it is implemented and monitored long-term,” Delaney said.

“For the four-day week to work, goodwill from both management and employees is vital.”

The four-day week trial has picked up traction internationally, including a report by the British Trade Union Council calling the four-day week, with no reduction to living standards, an ambition for the 21st century.