Could this be the future?
A four-day working week has been discussed heavily in the past few years. It’s suggested the initiative may boost worker morale and productivity. [Featured Image: Scott Graham, Unsplash].
And now, consumer goods company Unilever is performing a year-long trial of the four-day working week, with the results coming through in December 2021. The trial begins next week.
All 81 staff members at Unilever New Zealand are invited to take part in the study. They will all be paid for five days work while working for four days.
“If we end up in a situation where the team is working four extended days then we miss the point of this,” said managing director Nick Bangs. “We don’t want our team to have really long days, but to bring material change in the way they work.”
“It’s very much an experiment. We have made no commitments beyond 12 months and beyond New Zealand. But we think there will be some good learning we can gather in this time.”
Following this, Unilever will assess whether to move forward, with a view to implementing it worldwide to their 155,000 employees.
The subject has been in discussion nationally for some time, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encouraging companies to look into the matter for work flexibility, especially during the pandemic. Estate planning firm Perpetual Guardian also held a successful trial of four-day weeks in 2018. They now run it permanently for all 240 staff.
Look out for Unilever’s findings next year, and perhaps it could be another step for a larger change to how we tackle working weeks.