The 4-day work week works. So why aren't we using it?
A New Zealand study shows a 24% increase in productivity... by working less.
A study conducted by a New Zealand business confirmed what many of us have felt on Friday afternoons: a 5-day work week really isn't that effective. The study went one further and gave credence to slackers everywhere: a 4-day work week is actually more productive than a 5-day work week.
Perpetual Guardian, a wealth management firm in Wellington, New Zealand ran the experiment for 8 weeks and hired two researchers to report back on the findings of the study. According to the New York Times, employees saw a 24% increase in productivity and a better work-life balance. That's not all: all meetings were truncated from two hours to half an hour each. Sound like heaven in an office setting?
The company's founder, Andrew Barnes, put the idea of the 4-day work week into motion after reading about a Business Insider article about how a 40 hour work week might be 5 hours too long and how workplace distractions are as productivity-killing as smoking pot or losing sleep.
An HR professor at the University of Auckland, Jarrod Harr, confirms that the findings were extremely beneficial to the company. “They worked out where they were wasting time and worked smarter, not harder,” he said, “Supervisors said staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks. TTheir actual job performance didn’t change when doing it over four days instead of five.”
America, on the other hand, works more than any other developed country with an average of 47 hours a week, according to a 2014 Gallup poll. 1 in 5 American workers work through their lunch, while Republican lawmakers seemingly want to do away with retirement savings, meaning that we may all just work until we're dead. Which is an odd, Puritanical, and deeply troubling sentiment that some Americans are all too proud to crow about. With zero guaranteed maternity or paternity leave, American workers really are getting the short end of the stick.
It makes you wonder: are Perpetual Guardian hiring? Yes, they are.
Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.