AUCKLAND: A New Zealand company is testing an initiative that will see its employees to work four days a week and still get paid for five days.
The move by trust company Perpetual Guardian is the first for a major business in New Zealand. The company wants to create a workplace "fit for purpose for the 21st century", according to a report from The Guardian on Friday (Feb 9).
The six-week trial applies to more than 200 employees in 16 offices around the country. The employees will work standard business hours during the four days. If effective, the scheme will be adopted full-time by July.
The company's founder, Andrew Barnes, told The Guardian that by allowing employees to deal with family commitments, hobbies and general life maintenance with the extra day off, he hoped that they would be more focused during the four days they spent in the office.
"To be honest, some of those activities (family and life commitments) were being done within office hours. If you give people the chance to be a good as they can be outside the office - because they have more time - then you are going to get a better performance in the office," Barnes said.
Kirsten Taylor, a 39-year-old philanthropy services manager at the company, said her "jaw hit the ground" when she found out about the trial.
She told The Guardian: "My initial reaction was quite emotional because I am a single mum and I have a young son. To know that I can keep my budget exactly the way it is, afford - somewhat - an Auckland mortgage and have an extra day with my son, in his younger years ... it is just unheard of."
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, New Zealanders work an average of 1,752 hours a year.
In comparison, Germany works the least hours at 1,363 hours a year, while Mexico works the most at 2,255 hours.