A financial services company in New Zealand has trialled a 4-day working week for its 240 staff. They did not reduce their employees’ pay. The trial revealed that employees were 20% more productive, felt less stressed and were more engaged. And because productivity increased during the 4 working days, the total amount of work done remained the same.
The University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology conducted the study which compared scores given by workers in relation to various questions before the trial and after 8 weeks. The biggest increases were in empowerment and commitment. Work-life balance scores increased by over 20% and stress levels decreased by 7%.
This may not be a one-off trial from the other side of the world. The Wellcome Trust recently announced that they would be trialling a 4-day working week in the UK. Whilst a 4-day working week may not be practical for many businesses, this research shows that long hours do not necessarily mean more output. Moving to a 4-day working week is not the only way to give your business a boost. Happy, empowered staff, however you create them, are likely to be more productive over 5 days too.