Helping organisations design and implement flexible and hybrid ways of working

Learning from a 4 day work week (full time pay)

This is an incredible Tedx Talk from Andrew Barnes, CEO of a New Zealand based finance company, Perpetual Guardian.

After reading that most workers are not productive for much of their day anyway this innovative CEO wondered whether he could shake things up, recognising that the ‘normal’ ways of working 9-5 x 5 days a week are no longer fit for purpose in the modern age. He speaks to the initial skepticism and resistance that is fairly typical of managers worried about productivity and control.

He speaks of not solving the problem for his staff, but offering them a gift of one paid day a week, without having to work longer on the other 4 days, if they could rise to the challenge to find different ways of working to meet agreed outcomes and service levels.

He positioned this with staff as a pact between him as CEO and them, ensuring that this was not a gimmick but a signal of trust, a responsibility which his staff reciprocated.

He shares his results after a year – productivity overall held strong, but other metrics like stress, engagement significantly improved, as well as retention and talent magnetism. Other outcomes he reflects on include the quality of life for his employees, levelling of the playing field between men and women, mental health and lifelong learning which extend the benefit well beyond his company rippling into the broader community.

Kudos to Andrew Barnes, a bold leader prepared to experiment and share his learning broadly.


oman stretching at her laptop screen enjoying a remote work solution

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