Happy, committed and productive. That is how most companies would like their staff to be. But few companies would go so far as giving their workers one day off a week in order to achieve it.
That, however, was the approach of New Zealand will writing company Perpetual Guardian. The firm has just completed an eight-week trial, giving their 200 or so employees an extra day off every week, while all pay and employment conditions remained unchanged.
The results speak for themselves. Despite the reduced hours, workers were 20% more productive and much happier. Chief Executive Andrew Barnes called the experiment an “unmitigated success”.
The experiment was measured by Jarrod Haar, Professor of Human Resource Management at the Auckland University of Technology. He found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels, both at home and at work, with employees performing better and enjoying their jobs more than before the experiment began.
The findings were exactly as the firm’s Chief Executive Andrew Barnes had predicted. Indeed he says the decision to test the new way of working was “the right thing to do”, after looking at several global productivity reports.
The experiment has many implications, reigniting questions about productivity and a culture of long working hours, as well as the way in which part-time workers are valued and rewarded.
One thing that is already clear is that longer hours do not necessarily mean greater productivity.
South Korea, for example, ranks near to the bottom of OECD countries for labour productivity despite having a culture of working very long hours. Similarly, within Europe, Greece has one of the longest working weeks but comes out bottom in the OECD’s measure of GDP per hour worked.
read more at webforum.org