Since 1940, thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act, we have had a five-day workweek in America, and most of us take it for granted. On Monday you are off to work and on Friday afternoon you enjoy your weekend, simple.
But if you think about it: how nice would it be to work just four days a week?
According to a new study, the productivity of a company increases by 20% after employees did exactly that, according to The Guardian.
The company Perpetual Guardian at New Zealand, who works with financial services, made a trial period switch from five to four days a week for their 240 employees, for a duration of two months during last fall.
Did not affect the amount of work
During the two months, students conducted a study at the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology.
The employees felt much better when they got one day extra free. Stress levels fell from 45% to 38% while the employees seemed to be able to separate the job from their private lives in a better way.
Want to get more companies on board
With the positive outcome of the experiment, Perpetual Guardian now hopes that more companies will follow their footsteps, for the sake of employees worldwide.
“This is an idea whose time has come,” said Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian’s founder and chief executive, to The Guardian. “We need to get more companies to give it a go. They will be surprised at the improvement in their company, their staff and in their wider community.”
“We’ve been treated like adults and I think as a result everyone is behaving like adults,” said Tammy Barker, branch manager, to The Guardian.
“Need to plan properly”
As a whole working day, or 20% of the week, disappears, there is a risk that productivity will go down, even if it didn’t show in the study.
“To guard against this happening, we’ve spent a lot of time making sure every person in every team has their own plan as to how they’re going to maintain and even improve their productivity,” said Barker to The Guardian.
“I was actually finishing projects before moving on to the next one, and by the end of the day found I was accomplishing more than trying to multi-task everything,” she said.
Played golf and watched TV
An extra day off also means a larger dose of leisure time than you are used to. The employees who took part in the study devoted a great deal of time to their hobbies, such as golf or to catch up with the TV series they missed because of work. But many participants also found new things to do.
“Many people spent time with their parents, an activity that otherwise is only available during vacations,” said Jarrod Haar, Professor of Human Resources at the Auckland University of Technology, to The Guardian.
What a wonderful thing! It sounds amazing to have an extra day to rest every week – should I bring this news to my manager? Press the SHARE button if you also want a four-day work week!