There's only one problem with Perpetual Guardian offering their employees a four-day working week on five days pay. And that is that it's a six-week trial.

Perpetual Guardian is introducing the short week as a result of engagement surveys across the company that showed workers wanted more flexibility in their working arrangements.

The company is willing to gamble that productivity will increase if their employees feel they're being given an extra day to use as they wish, based on overseas data that shows a correlation between employee engagement and productivity.

But it's only a trial. And that's where the problem lies.


A four-day week is intoxicating and liberating and wonderful. Look at the past couple of weeks.

Anniversary Weekend and then Waitangi Day. Two short weeks in quick succession and life is wonderful.

Everything's easier, jobs that have been put off have been completed and you've spent quality time with the people you love.

Imagine having a bonus day off every week. By the end of six weeks, the 200 staff on the payroll of the Kiwi estate planning company will be absolutely acclimatised to working just the four days and if they're expected to go back to a normal 9-5 working week, there'll be a revolution.

I know. Because for many years, I've worked a four-day week.

It came about because a million years ago, I was given a Sunday morning radio show to host along with my regular night-time talkback show.

My boss at the time gave me Friday night off to make up for the Sunday morning and it was absolute bliss. And then after a number of years a new boss came along who rejigged the shows and the hosts and all of a sudden, I was working a four-day week.

Four nights of talkback and no Sunday show. I felt obligated, being an old Catholic-school girl, to point out I was only working four days a week.

"Ah well," said my new boss, "you'll fill in for the other hosts and you can MC a few events for us."

And so I did. And it was wonderful and I was grateful and I stayed faithful to my company despite other radio stations flirting with me because I knew I had it sweet.

And then all of a sudden, there was another boss and a change of show time and not only did I have to go from a night-time show to an afternoon one but it was five days a week.

I felt as though my throat had been cut.

When I was working nights, I had all day to get things done. Tradies could be booked and I'd be there for them. Dinner was prepped and ready. Clothes were washed and on the line, doctors appointments kept, grey hairs kept at bay.

Now, all of a sudden, all of that had to be done on the weekend. Just like most people have to do.

And just like everyone else, it meant the weekend was spent doing all those things I would have done during the day or on my Freedom Friday.

I hated it and I resented it and life was misery and woe. After six months of gritting my teeth and trying to adapt, I went to my bosses and after a little negotiation and give and take, my Freedom Fridays were reinstated and I felt like I could breathe again.

Many, many companies offer wonderful perks. Four to five months of paid parental leave for men and women. Free health insurance. Time off for family commitments. Discounts on the products sold.

But time is the most precious commodity of all. And any company that can afford to value their employees time will see that employees will pay them back tenfold.

And given that I'm a betting woman – although never more than a $5 bet – I'm willing to bet that Perpetual Guardian sees a return on their investment in the well-being of their employees with a healthy balance sheet in 2019.

• Tana and Avina from the band Tomorrow People join Kerre McIvor from 9am today on NewstalkZB to talk about knocking Ed Sheeran off number one on the charts.