The Four-Day Workweek Is More Than A Dream: It’s A Good Idea

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images.
If you've been dreaming about a shorter workweek, good news: there are now statistics to back the fantasy up as a viable idea.
Earlier this year, a New Zealand company rolled out a four-day, 32-hour workweek on a trial basis, and the results showed it was an overwhelming success.
The New York Times reports that the 240 employees at trust management firm Perpetual Guardian were found to be more productive with a shorter workweek. For two months, the company set up an experimental schedule where employees worked for four days, but still got paid for five.
Researchers from the University of Auckland who surveyed company employees during the two-month trial run found that 24% reported a healthier work-life balance. Having more time to see their families and work on hobbies led to being more energised at the office. On top of that, work productivity increased. Staff arrived on time with better attendance and scheduled their workdays more effectively, including taking shorter breaks and having shorter meetings. The policy also benefited those who need more support in and out of the office, including working parents and new parents on leave. After the overwhelmingly positive feedback, the company hopes to make the change permanent.
Though this experiment took place in New Zealand, the results suggest it could have just as profound an effect in countries with similar economies, including the UK. A shorter workweek isn’t just about sleeping in for an extra day. British employees on average work 42 hours a week, making us the country with the longest working week in Europe. Londoners in particular reportedly work on average three weeks a year more than the rest of the UK. A four-day workweek (with, crucially, five-day pay) could not only help lots of workers make ends meet, but it may also be a more effective way to do so.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.