A Resounding Success: Researchers Find that Four Day Work Week is Doable

Perpetual Guardian takes first steps and makes recommendations to board


Dr Helen Delaney

University of Auckland Business School


Professor Jarrod Haar

Auckland University of Technology


If you would like a copy of the media release, or have any further enquiries, please contact jemma@alexanderpr.co.nz


"On Monday the 5th of March, Perpetual Guardian will be running a six week trial. You will be working four days a week, and you will be paid for five."

- Andrew Barnes, founder and CEO.


What are we doing?

"Are you crazy?"

On Friday 2nd February, 2018, Andrew Barnes called all 230+ employees into a company-wide meeting.

"On Monday the 5th of March, we will be starting a six week trial. You will be working four days a week, and you will be paid for five."

As you can imagine the room went silent, followed by a nervous laugh.

"This is an important pact between you and I," said Andrew. 'This is over to you. We are going to give you the responsibility to figure out how this works for each team, how productivity stays up, and how we can continue to deliver to our customers despite the changing work hours.'



Over the Christmas break Andrew had read a couple of research reports which suggested that productivity in the workforce can be as low as one and a half hours a day. While these findings are not new, they are still shocking, and Andrew wanted to explore the reasons why productivity can be so limited.

You can read these research reports here.

How do we create a 21st century workplace able to give staff a more balanced life, without changing client experience or profitability for the worse? What if we change the way we think about productivity, no longer associating it with hours worked?

Andrew's plan: run a trial giving employee's the power to design a new way of working fewer hours yet increasing productivity. 



The teams had a month to prepare. During this time they worked together to ensure effective productivity measures were in place, and assessed the practical needs of each team. This allowed them to make sure everything was in place to reach the set goals. Then for six weeks starting 5th March, 2018, the trial began. 

To keep the process open and transparent, Andrew has talked to just about anyone who would listen about this initiative.  Additionally, Andrew has engaged researchers from both the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology who are participating in a formal research project. The results of this will be shared publicly once complete.

After the trial, Perpetual Guardian's management team will review the results to determine if this new way of working can be rolled out on a more permanent basis.


The trial will be for six weeks from 5th March, 2018, but may be extended for a couple of weeks if deemed necessary.