The Case for the 4 Day Week

This podcast is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute. Here, I speak with Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart about the benefits of the 4 day week for employers and their workers.

My guests on this podcast created and are recognized worldwide for one of the most significant success stories for the 4 day work week.  Andrew Barnes, is the founder of Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand. His partner Charlotte Lockhart is CEO of their company 4 day Week Global. Together, they are spreading the message that giving employees back their time is a productivity enhancing strategy.  In our conversation, you’ll hear how they did it at Perpetual Guardian, and why they believe these concepts can work anywhere.

I had the chance to spend time with Andrew and Charlotte (pictured above) during their book tour stop in Boston earlier this year. While our time together occurred prior to the outbreak of the global pandemic (as you’ll note from our lack of social distancing), our podcast conversation was recorded at the end of March.

One thing Charlotte said during this interview that has really stuck with me is that as leaders, “we borrow people from their lives”. Her point is that employers shouldn’t expect jobs to be the centerpiece of people’s lives, but rather that they should collaborate with workers to design work that fits in those lives. A big part of Andrew and Charlotte’s message is that the 4 day week is not about charity, it’s about trusting people to meet their goals in ways and timeframes that work for their individual lives – while also delivering the productivity required by their organizations.

Now, more than ever, this message of trusting people to get their work done in new ways is resonating around the world as so many people are working from home under the extremely trying conditions of lock downs in the absence of childcare and access to many of the conveniences they took for granted a couple of months ago.

Global research we conducted in 2018 showed that the majority of workers felt they could do their jobs in 4 days or less if given the opportunity to do so. Just this week, their fellow Kiwi (and Prime Minister) Jacinda Ardern noted the 4 day week as one tool that can aid in the reopening of New Zealand.

If you’d like to hear from Andrew and Charlotte how they made this work at Perpetual Guardian, please listen to our conversation on the player below.

Interview with Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart

If you’d like to learn even more about the 4 Day Week, you have several good options:

  • First, of course, listen to the podcast!
  • You may also want to read their book, The 4 Day Week. You can buy it here on Amazon.
  • Follow them at 4dayweek.com. Here you can learn more about the 4 Day Week Global Foundation they’ve established to fund research into 4 Day Week practices and the future of work and workplace wellbeing. Through this they talk to businesses around the globe, work alongside initiatives in other markets and do a lot of listening, talking and drinking coffee.

2 thoughts on “The Case for the 4 Day Week

  1. Back in the 90s I was at John Hancock and they offered 4 10 hour days for the work week. Many people opted for it. It was a great benefit and very helpful to the company from a productivity perspective.

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