“It was like Groundhog Day and we needed a reset”


Working four days a week and getting paid for five is gaining traction in New Zealand with 10 companies recently signing on to the movement

Kiwi Businesses have joined over 100 different organizations around the world in a pilot program designed to track and measure the effectiveness of the growing trend.

The model, created by Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes, sees workers paid 100% of their salary to work 4 days a week, based on 100% productivity.

Maori language and business consultancy Haemata signed up for the 4-Day-Week program six weeks ago after recent lockdowns left the team tired, disengaged and in need of a change.

Haemata’s Te Aorangi Murphy-Fell said the team decided their way of working could do with a shake-up.

“After the lockdown we had a meeting and talked about how we felt and the common theme was that it was hard, it was drudgery and work was like Groundhog Day.

“Everyone had a chance to reflect and we decided to do things differently.”

Te Aorangi Murphy-Fell of Maori consultancy Haemata was testing the 4-day week as part of the pilot scheme. Photo / Provided

The company looked at the 4-day week and decided to test the program with the hybrid work model where some days are spent working from home.

Haemata’s 10-person team is currently staggering their days off so that no two weeks are the same and everyone can enjoy the occasional long weekend.

Murphy-Fell said the trial is in its early stages, but so far working productively for four days to have an extra day to enjoy and spend with whanau has been positive.

“We’re proud to be based in whanau so having that extra day is really great.”

Everyone works on Mondays and the week starts with Hiki Wairua – a meeting to anchor and boost team well-being.

“We’re all here for this reunion and everyone loves it, we follow that with a karakia and that set us up for the week.

“For the rest of the week, we’re still in the testing phase and making changes as we go to see what works.”

Haemata’s progress is being monitored by researchers at Boston College. Productivity is studied, data is analyzed and support and guidance is given to the business as it navigates the change in the work week.

Auckland University of Technology, University of Queensland and University of Sydney are following other companies.

Andrew Barnes, the architect of the 4-day week and founder of 4 Day Week Global, said the pandemic gave the 4-day week the boost it needed.

“People aren’t interested in going back to a pre-2020 working model, and even then it was clear that the five-day week was no longer suitable,” Barnes told the Herald on Sunday.

4-Day-Week founder Andrew Barnes said congestion charges and travel costs have boosted 4-Day-Week’s popularity. Photo / Provided

“The focus is much more on productivity and flexibility, which the four-day week offers, and what will work best for business, well-being, the economy and the climate.”

With the news of congestion charges and the rising cost of fuel, Barnes said the 4-day week has become even more necessary.

“Factors such as fuel cost inflation are very influential… not to mention our $1.3 billion congestion problem in Auckland alone.

“It’s even more urgent to leave the five-day-a-week commute in the rearview mirror.”

The pilot program is set for six months based on the 100:80:100 model where workers receive 100% of salary for 80% of the time.

In exchange, they undertake to maintain at least 100% productivity.

Spending one less day in traffic is a driving force for the 4-day week. Photo/Brett Phibbs

Businesses have access to a package of supports with the pilot program including four-day week-long workshops led by international experts and pioneers, four-day mentoring by business leaders, and networking with business leaders. other pilot companies.

Barnes introduced the 4-day week to the company he founded – Perpetual Guardian – in 2018.

He first introduced the reduced workweek to see what impact, if any, it would have on the company’s productivity levels.

The initial test was a success, with independent academic research showing that productivity levels remained intact and job satisfaction improved significantly among staff members.

Since then, Barnes has championed the 4-day week globally and says having an extra day off during the week increases employee engagement, satisfaction and retention without lowering productivity.

For more information on the 4 days a week trial, click here.

– by Kirsty Wynn, NZ Herald


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