The idea of reducing the work week from five to four days has more and more followers. Recent studies indicate that a shorter workweek increases productivity, but the important thing is to define what is done with that fifth day.
A study by Perpetual Guardian concludes that the four-day week is not just about giving employees one more day off, but about bringing productivity to the company and meeting customer service standards, personal and business goals and objectives of the team.
The New Zealand-based company conducted a pilot test with successful results, after which it recommends to all businesses: “give employees enough time to think about how they can work differently, and encourage them to develop their own measure of productivity.
In the study, 240 employees of Perpetual Guardian, a firm that manages trusts, wills and properties in Wellington, NZ, worked four days for the same salary as the five during the months of March and April. The success of the pilot program led the company to consider establishing the four-day workweek on a permanent basis.
The company publishes on its website that this experiment benefited both employees and employers. “It was confirmed that the staff were more creative, that their attendance was better, that the workers arrived on time and did not leave early, nor did they take long to perform their duties.
Meanwhile, employees reported a 24 percent improvement in work-life balance, working with energy after their three days off. They were also happy with their lighter schedule and said this “motivated them to find ways to increase their productivity while they were in the office.
The shorter workweek also motivated employees to make the most of their long weekends, and made them think of the best way to use that third day off to change their lives. The largest number of workers returned to their revitalized jobs.
Most spent their fifth day each week in a variety of activities, from training for a marathon, going to the dentist, taking their car to repair, or shopping for their elderly parents. “Everything that has been put on the back burner, which means managing your time to improve your life and that of your family,” the report says.
However, Perpetual Guardian’s analysis warns that not all employees discovered how to increase productivity at work. “Some people haven’t realized that if we have three days off, all four in the office have to be very productive,” he says.
Some U.S. companies are already testing the shorter workweek trend, for example, Amazon launched a 30-hour work program for some employees, which means earning only 75% of their regular salary. Accounting firms KPMG and Deloitte also offer four-day weeks to some employees under certain conditions.
Perpetual Guardian recommends encouraging staff to consider how they can organize their free time within work teams, and companies to develop their own productivity and flexibility policies.
With information courtesy of Negocios Now