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The Advantage of the Four Day Work Week

August 13, 2018 by

When you miss a day at work during the week, are you still able to get everything accomplished that you need to do? People tend to be able to finish their tasks in the amount of time that they are given. This means, if you are given five days to do the same amount of work that you could also be given in four days, it will take you however long you are actually given to complete the tasks.

Recently, a New Zealand company called Perpetual Guardian conducted an experiment with their 240-person staff. They had their staff work four-day workweeks instead of five, yet they still paid them for the entire 40 hours. Following the success of their experiment, this company is aiming to make this a permanent work schedule.

During the trial period, researchers found that there was a great impact on the employees of this company. Not only were the staff more creative, but they arrived to work on time more often and took fewer sick days. Additionally, they took shorter breaks during the day and stayed at work until the close of business. Most importantly, the job performance of the employees did not change when their work schedule was shortened. They were able to get the same amount of work done in a week and the bottom line of the company did not change.

The company’s CEO, Andrew Barnes, posted a video online at the start of this study showing the reaction of his employees to the announcement that they were moving to a four-day workweek. The employees were confused but clearly happy to be faced with this experiment.

Throughout the trial, employees noted that they were able to develop strategies to improve their time management while at work and become more efficient at their jobs. One example of this was reducing the time of meetings from 2 hours to 30 minutes. Meetings have been found in studies to be one of the biggest wastes of time within organizations, so cutting these short was an obvious first move. Once the meetings were cut short, people were able to focus better and refrain from wasting time within the group setting of a meeting.

As studies have agreed in the past that people have a limit to the number of hours that they can be productive throughout the day, other businesses have attempted to adopt this business practice. Shorter work weeks have often resulted in happier employees who experiences less stress and reported to enjoy their jobs more.

The only downfall with some companies is that the program can be an added expense if the company has to hire additional employees to cover any days that its regular employees are not at work.

However, companies such as Amazon have experimented with having their staff members work only 30 hours a week, but they make up for this by paying only 75% of their salary, however, the employees are able to retain their benefits.

The science behind this trend is that studies have shown people can only concentrate for about five hours at a time at the very most. When companies push people beyond this amount of time, it results in their employees acquiring bad habits and not getting their best work done.

This study goes to show that the results of the efforts of employees is more important than the amount of time that they are spending in the office. Five day work weeks are not necessarily more effective for a company’s bottom line. The important thing is more about their employees’ job satisfaction, ability to be productive, and motivation to find ways to be more efficient at work and waste less time.

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