Perpetual Guardian releases four-day week white paper

On the first anniversary of Perpetual Guardian’s launch of the four-day week trial, Andrew Barnes, founder of the trust company, is again contributing to the global debate, releasing a white paper on flexibility and productivity.

The white paper comes after a global groundswell of interest in and coverage of the four-day week concept, and of Perpetual Guardian’s implementation of this new approach to work flexibility from  November 1 last year.

A media release from Perpetual Guardian says that to date, the news has reached more than 4.5 billion people in 53 countries through reporting by the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, The Guardian and other prominent media outlets.  

Perpetual Guardian says that the four-day week is now a ‘thing’, with a local initiative having kicked off a global movement – and policymakers and institutions are responding.

“At the same time New Zealand’s Minister of Finance Grant Robertson is initiating the ‘Future of Work’ Tripartite Forum and the government’s upcoming ‘Wellbeing Budget’, part of wide-ranging efforts to improve productivity and worker wellbeing in New Zealand.

“Further afield, the UK’s Wellcome Trust, the world’s second-largest research donor after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has announced it is seriously considering a trial that will see all 800 head office staff moving to a four-day week to boost productivity and improve work-life balance.

“Other UK enterprises are currently experimenting with or working a shorter week, including Bright Horizon Cloud Accountants, which introduced a six-hour day in 2016; Pursuit Marketing, which offers a Monday-Thursay week at normal pay, and the option to work Fridays to earn more towards bonuses; and PR and marketing firm Conversation Creation, which is trialling a six-hour day over five days and an eight-hour day across a four-day week.

“Many countries are grappling with how to balance output as an economic measure with worker wellbeing as a public health issue. Knowing this, and in keeping with his promise to share the findings of the four-day week trial widely with business, government, academia and NGOs, Andrew Barnes is making the white paper publicly available and sending it directly to a database of several hundred people who have requested it, including representatives of government departments and some of the most prominent retail and corporate enterprises, financial institutions, media entities, universities and not-for-profits in the world.

“More than 350 requests have to date come in from 28 countries. Topping the ex-New Zealand list for white paper requests are the UK (56), Australia (48), US (38) and Germany (38).

“The white paper’s contents include current data on productivity and flexible working arrangements; detailed case studies from Perpetual Guardian’s eight-week trial and its aftermath; a ‘how-to’ guide for directors, CEOs and HR managers considering a trial in their enterprise; and appendices including Perpetual Guardian’s productivity week policy and legal framework for employees.

Barnes says, “The purpose of the white paper is to inform and feed the global conversation that began when we launched the four-day week trial nearly a year ago. In the ensuing months, we have learned more about flexibility and productivity and how to balance the interests of workers and businesses in the 21st century economy.

“Having implemented the four-day week on an opt-in basis at Perpetual Guardian from November last year, we are continuing to identify ways to raise productivity and improve engagement, wellbeing and job satisfaction within this ground-breaking model of flexibility. We will keep sharing our discoveries on a global platform. We have much more to say about these issues and plan to release a book on the four-day week later this year.”

Perpetual Guardian’s Four-Day Week white paper can be viewed here.

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