A New Zealand trust company is being hailed as a hero by employees this week after it announced plans to trial a three-day weekend for its entire workforce.
Perpetual Guardian, which has over 200 team members, will run a trial for six weeks in the hopes of boosting productivity and increasing employee engagement.
“We think it's the right thing to do," company founder Andrew Barnes told The AM Show. "In today's world it's very difficult for people to juggle both work at home and work in the office. We want people to be the best they can when they're in the office but also the best at home."
While some organisations have trialled longer hours across fewer days, Barnes says employees will still work a typical workday and receive their normal salaries..
"We've put it to the team and what they've now got to do is work out how they deliver the same amount of work in a week over four days," said Barnes. “That means work smarter, work cleverer, change the systems, change the processes."
Christine Brotherton, head of people and capability at the company, pointed to research showing a correlation between employee engagement and productivity.
"If employees are engaged with their job and employer, they are more productive," she said. “We believe efficiency will come with more staff focus and motivation."
Unsurprisingly, the announcement was welcomed enthusiastically by employees with Barnes admitting he’d been moved to tears by some of the responses.
"We have a couple of single mothers in the company and they're saying this will change their world," he said, noting that the new schedule will start in March.
The company will also stagger the employee roster so the office isn't empty on a Friday or a Monday and key customer-facing services won't be unmanned during business hours.