Have you ever wished for another extra day for the weekend? Well, you could be on to something. A study showed that working for only four days in a weekend resulted in employees feeling more energized and have a better work-life balance.
The New York Times reported these findings from a New Zealand-based firm called Perpetual Guardian that tested letting its employees work four days in a week whilst getting paid the same amount as they would working five days. This meant that the employees were working for 32 hours instead of 40.
The firm conducted the test from March to April and called in two researchers to study the effect of the company’s working time reduction.
What they discovered was an increase in the productivity of their 240 employees – up to 24 percent in regards to work-life balance. According to the employees, they were able to spend more time with their loved ones, cooking meals, working out as well as gardening.
“Supervisors said the staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks,” said Jarrod Haar, a human resources professor at Auckland University of Technology. He further elaborated that the employee’s actual job performance didn’t change throughout the entire experiment.
With such successful results, The firm is also looking to keeping it that way!
The founder of Perpetual Guardian, Andrew Barnes explained his reason behind this study was because he read a report that suggested, “people spent less than three hours of their workday productively employed, and another that said distractions at work could have effects on staff akin to losing a night’s sleep or smoking marijuana.”
Below are some of the benefits that resulted in the success of the experiment:
1. This study showed that the employees were motivated to find ways to increase their work productivity in the office. For example, their meetings were cut shorter from two hours to 30 minutes. Apart from that people were more assertive in signaling to their colleagues that they needed the time and space to work without distraction. This showed that they were able to work smarter, not harder by making use of their time efficiently.
2. Employees were told their contract and performance would be evaluated on their productivity levels rather than the hours they clock in. “A contract should be about an agreed level of productivity. If you deliver that in less time, why should I cut your pay?” Mr. Barnes elaborated. (We agree!)
3. Working mums also benefited from this as one of their employees said that she was able to focus on doing tasks in a more organized manner. The extra day-off was used to run personal errands and the rest of the weekend was specifically for her family. “Because there was a focus on our productivity, I made a point of doing one thing at a time, and turning myself back to it when I felt I was drifting off.”. She was able to get a lot more done at the end of each day.
4. The company saw lower electricity bills all thanks to the 20 percent less staff in the office each day.
5. Mr. Barnes said there is possibly 20 percent less traffic during rush hour — at least from his company anyway!