Four-day week

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A four-day week is an arrangement where a workplace or school has its employees or students work or attend school over the course of four days rather than the more customary five.[1] This arrangement can be a part of flexible working hours, and is sometimes used to cut costs, as seen in the example of the so-called "4/10 work week," where employees work a normal 40 hours across four days, i.e. a "four-ten" week.[2]

In 2008, employees of the Utah state government all began working ten-hour days from Monday to Thursday.[1][3] By closing state government offices on Fridays, the state expected to save on operating costs such as electricity, heat, air conditioning, and gasoline for state-owned vehicles.[3] Utah ended this practice however, in 2011, with the Utah Legislature overriding Governor Gary Herbert's veto of five-day work week legislation.[4]

Many local governments have had alternative schedules for many years.[5][6][7]

Public schools in Hawaii closed on 17 Fridays in 2010.[8] Over 100 school districts in rural areas in the United States changed the school week to a four-day week; most also extended each school day by an hour or more.[9][10] The changes were often made in order to save money on transportation, heating, and substitute teachers.[9]

More modest attempts to enact a 32-hour workweek (a four-day week and an eight-hour day combined) have remained elusive in the following 80 years despite pockets of residual support.[11]

In Gambia, a four-day workweek was introduced for public officials by president Yahya Jammeh, effective as of 1 February 2013. Working hours became Mondays through Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Friday foreseen as a day of rest to allow residents more time for prayer and agriculture. This regulation was abolished in early 2017 by his successor, president Adama Barrow, who decreed a half-day of work on Fridays.[12]

In New Zealand, trust company Perpetual Guardian announced in February 2018 that it would begin trialing a four-day work week in March 2018.[13] Unlike many four-day week initiatives which require staff to work longer days for the same pay, or receive less pay, Perpetual Guardian’s proposed plan, instigated by founder Andrew Barnes, would see the company’s 240-plus staff nominating and receiving a day off each week at full pay.[14] The six week trial, held during March and April 2018, attracted international media attention[15][16][17][18][19] In late March 2018, Barnes noted that the trial was going well with staff reporting more time for family, hobbies, ploughing through to-do lists and doing home maintenance.[20][21][22][23][24]

The trial, which was tracked and assessed by the University of Auckland Business School and Auckland University of Technology,[25] proved to be a resounding success[26] and ‘a total win-win’,[27] with Perpetual Guardian now looking to extend the four-day work week scheme permanently. The trial[28] saw a 20% increase in productivity, 30% increase in customer engagement levels,[29] and increased staff engagement,[30] along with a reduction in staff stress levels and work-life balance improving by 24 percentage points.[31] Perpetual Guardian noted that its revenue remained stable throughout the trial and costs were down, with less power used.

The trial sparked intense publicity both in New Zealand[32] and internationally[33][34][35][36][37][38] around the role of four day work weeks in the workplace of the future, and attracted government attention in New Zealand where workplace relations minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the trial was 'fascinating' and noted he was keen to work with any businesses looking to be more flexible for staff.[39]

The trial has been held up by Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes as a potential way of helping to close the gender pay gap and increase diversity in the workforce, saying women should stop negotiating on hours and start negotiating on their productivity.[40] Barnes also held the scheme up as a potential blueprint for the workplace of the future, ensuring companies were attractive to millennials[41] and easing Auckland’s traffic congestion.[42]

However, while four day work weeks were deemed a success for most, not everyone involved in the Perpetual Guardian trial was able to adapt, with some reporting feeling increased pressure to complete work within the shorter timeframe, particularly around deadlines. Other staff reported they were bored on their extra day away from work and missed the work environment.[43]

In July, Andrew Barnes discussed the trial, along with a range of other hot business topics including innovation, team engagement and leadership on High Altitude, a Kiwi big business podcast hosted by Dr John Peebles.[44][45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rex L. Facer II and Lori L. Wadsworth. 2010. "Four-day Workweeks: Current Research and Practice" Connecticut Law Review 42, (4): 1031-1046.
  2. ^ "Hyatt & Coslor Compressed Lives: How " Flexible " are Employer- Imposed Compressed Work Schedules". Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Utah is going to a 4-day workweek". MSNBC. Associated Press. July 3, 2008. 
  4. ^ Heather Kerrigan, Utah's Demise of the Four-Day Workweek, Governing (July 13, 2011).
  5. ^ Lori L. Wadsworth, Rex L. Facer II, and Chyleen A. Arbon. 2010. "Alternative Work Schedules in Local Government: Qui Bono?" Review of Public Personnel Administration 30, (3): 322-340.
  6. ^ Rex L. Facer II and Lori L. Wadsworth. 2008. "Alternative Work Schedules and Work Family Balance: A Research Note." Review of Public Personnel Administration 28, (2): 166-177.
  7. ^ Rex L. Facer II, Lori L. Wadsworth, and Chyleen Arbon. 2009. "Cities Leading the Way: The Use of Alternative Work Schedules by Cities. 2009 Municipal Yearbook. ICMA Press: Washington DC, pp. 28-33.
  8. ^ Herring, Chris (March 8, 2010). "Schools' New Math: The Four-Day Week". The Wall Street Journal. 
  9. ^ a b Toppo, Greg (August 20, 2002). "In rural areas, the four-day school week is growing in popularity". The Christian Science Monitor. Associated Press. 
  10. ^ "Four-Day School Weeks". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ shorterworkweek.com
  12. ^ "Gambia's President Barrow scraps Jammeh's four-day week". BBC. 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Kiwi firm Perpetual Guardian to test four-day week with workers on full pay". NZ Herald. 
  14. ^ "New Zealand trust company trials three-day weekends for employees". 9Finance Australia. 
  15. ^ "Work four days, get paid for five: New Zealand company's new shorter week". The Guardian. 
  16. ^ "New Zealand company to trial four-day work week". The Straits Times. 
  17. ^ "Στη Νέα Ζηλανδία μία εταιρεία θα πληρώνει τους υπαλλήλους της για πέντε μέρες εργασίας ενώ θα δουλεύουν τέσσερις". HuffPost Greece. 
  18. ^ "Quattro giorni di lavoro e cinque di paga: la sperimentazione di un'azienda neozelandese". Vanity Fair Italy. 
  19. ^ "Perpetual Guardian to test four-day week". Stuff.co.nz. 
  20. ^ "'Heck it was productive': New Zealand company trials four-day work week .... but will it stick?". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-04-02. 
  21. ^ "Perpetual Guardian's four-day working week trial going well". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-04-02. 
  22. ^ "Company trials four-day week for staff while paying them for five". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-04-02. 
  23. ^ "Workers embrace four-day week at Perpetual Guardian". NZ Herald. 2018-03-29. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2018-04-02. 
  24. ^ Peters, Lucia. "A Company Is Testing Out Four-Day Work Weeks — And It's Having MASSIVE Success". Bustle. Retrieved 2018-04-05. 
  25. ^ "Kiwi company trials four-day working week for more 'energised, engaged workforce'". TVNZ. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  26. ^ Yeung, Jessie. "A New Zealand company tried a four-day work week. It was a 'resounding success'". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  27. ^ "Seven Sharp". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  28. ^ "Home". 4 Day Week. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  29. ^ "Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes hails four-day week trial". Newshub. 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  30. ^ "Four-day working week trial at Perpetual Guardian a success, boss wants to make it permanent". NZ Herald. 2018-07-21. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  31. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (2018-07-18). "Work less, get more: New Zealand firm's four-day week an 'unmitigated success'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  32. ^ "Kiwi company trials four-day working week for more 'energised, engaged workforce'". TVNZ. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  33. ^ "A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  34. ^ Lea, Brittany De (2018-07-19). "New Zealand company tested four-day work week, results may surprise you". Fox Business. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  35. ^ "'We've seen a massive increase in engagement'". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  36. ^ Would a four-day working week boost productivity?, 2018-07-18, retrieved 2018-07-24 
  37. ^ "Company Tests 4-Day Work Week, Employees Return Energised After Long Weekend - WORLD OF BUZZ". www.worldofbuzz.com. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  38. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "New Zealand company switches to four-day working week | DW | 18.07.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  39. ^ "Four-day work week trial 'very interesting' - Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway". Newshub. 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  40. ^ "Four-day working week trial a bonus for working mums". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  41. ^ "Millennials are rejecting the 9-5 workday". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  42. ^ "Four-day week could help to ease Auckland's traffic woes". NZ Herald. 2018-07-18. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  43. ^ "'Would rather come to work': Four-day working week trial a success, but didn't work for everyone". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  44. ^ "Andrew Barnes, The Man Behind the 4 Day Week Initiative" from High Altitude by Dr John Peebles on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2018-07-24. 
  45. ^ Dr John Peebles (2018-07-17), Full Interview: High Altitude Conversations with Andrew Barnes, the man behind 4 day week initiative, retrieved 2018-07-24