The case for the four-day workweek

The best known company for embracing four-day weeks is New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian, whose founder, Andrew Barnes, offered employees in 2018 the ability to work 30 hours per week with the same salary, with a pledge that they would maintain the same productivity. Also co-founder of 4 Day Week Global, Barnes commissioned an independent academic study before the eight-week trial, and found big improvements in employee well-being and company performance/revenue. He has since spearheaded the move to the four-day week, helping us organize trials which both support and study how shorter workweeks impact companies, with the participation of more than 150 companies and more than 7,500 employees around the world. So far, reports are very positive in terms of both company performance and employee well-being.

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Our first group of companies hasn’t finished the six-month trial, but midpoint results show significant improvements in stress and burnout, physical and mental health, and life satisfaction.

As companies attempt to stem the tide of resignations and solve the problem of unfilled positions, offering shorter workweeks makes even more sense. Adam Husney, CEO of Healthwise, a non-profit education provider located in Boise, Idaho, credited high attrition rates in June 2021 with his decision to institute a four-day week two months later, which he said greatly improved employee retention. He also noted that remote work created the trust that’s necessary to make shorter workweeks successful. He said he’s confident that his employees are still doing all their work, and he’s got the performance numbers to back it up.

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