Can your employees get just as much done in 32 hours as they can in 40? According to a recent experiment in New Zealand, the answer is yes.
A trust and estate planning firm called Perpetual Guardian decided to test the idea, having their employees work four standard days instead of five, but still paid at their usual salary. Newly released numbers from a study of the project showed that workers’ sense of work-life balance went from 54% to 78%. Stress went down. And the missed hours didn’t affect job performance, which actually slightly improved, says Fast Company's Adele Peters.
Employees spent less time in meetings. They spent less time on social media. They started experimenting with signals on their desks–like a flag in a small pot next to their computer–to indicate to coworkers when they shouldn’t be interrupted. (Studies have found that it can take more than 20 minutes to get focused after an interruption.) Because there were fewer people in the office, noise and distractions went down. And despite the fact that the staff was spending 20% less time in the office, productivity didn’t fall.
Job satisfaction, though fairly high before the experiment, ticked upward, as did employees’ sense of satisfaction with their lives in general. Perception of workload went down. Job stress declined from 45% to 38%. Employees’ sense of engagement with their work went up, and their commitment to their employer rose from 68% to 88%. They found their work more stimulating, had more confidence in the leadership team, and felt more empowered in their roles.Read More