Wellbeing & the 4 day week


Most conversations around the Four-Day Week have focused on productivity and the 100-80-100 rule. But what about the impact it has on the actual wellbeing of those who change the way they work to make this new future of work, well, work? 

While the foundation for the programme is about maintaining business productivity, I also have a desire for my employees to be not only 100 per cent human at work, but also 100 per cent human in their personal lives.

A four-day week gives them a chance to connect with their families, communities and their own personal goals by providing the extra time needed to participate in more non-work activities. This is not just an observation I made during the initial trial, but something backed-up by independent researchers.

When we look at the quantitative side of things, Professor Jarrod Haar from AUT emphasised all this with his own research. While Perpetual Guardian staff started off with a high level of life satisfaction, the data showed something rather astounding happened with the four-day week: staff wellbeing went up even more and job-related stress decreased despite the shorter work week.

Similarly, when Dr. Helen Delaney from the Auckland University looked at the qualitative impact the four-day week had on Perpetual Guardian’s staff, she discovered an enduring theme across the entire organisation: individuals had more time to accomplish tasks in their personal lives that are often ‘crammed in’, ‘put off’ or ‘rushed between’ in the busyness of a five-day work schedule. 

The researchers found that the ability to complete chores and errands during the week directly improved the experience of a weekend, as employees were freed up to spend more quality time with friends, family, or themselves on a weekend.

Another key theme we had from staff was that they found they had more time to restore and reconnect and could finally enjoy dedicated ‘me time’. This saw them take up hobbies and interests that had ‘started to suffer’ with the various demands of fast-paced modern life.  

These findings proved to me that we were onto something much bigger than a simple productivity-increase at work. The Four-Day Week enabled employees to ‘have it all’ in the sense that they could give perform at work, while also being empowered to fully enjoy their private lives and focus on their personal wellbeing more.

To me this is a true win-win and proves that the four-day week movement has the potential to truly revolutionise what the future of work looks like.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the white paper on the Four-Day Week, which goes into much more detail.

Until next time,

Andrew Barnes