The five-day work week was standardized in 1926. Almost twelve years later, United States President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a five-day, forty-hour workweek for many.
For our little homeland of New Zealand, then a mere 1.7 million people, the five-day, forty-hour work week became almost universal around 1945 with the First Labour Government passing the Factories Act.
In the 78 years that have since passed, we have grown to a population of 5.1 million with a workforce of 1.6 million. In this time, there has been no revision of this five day, forty hour work week. That is, until recent times, the discussion around the four-day, thirty-six hour work week has begun to increase, and for good reason. Better balance of working days in the week is more than proven to address problems with high unemployment, low well-being, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time.
Research has indicated that it’s the simple things that can make the biggest differences. It’s is hard to argue with when it comes to maintaining productivity while increasing wellbeing. 45% of workers say the ability to control their schedule (start and finish times) is top of their wish-list.
Data from 4dayweek.com suggests that, a remarkable 73% of workers on a 4 day week observe greater satisfaction with their time. They also enjoy improved physical and mental health, with 71% feeling less burnt out, 39% feeling less stressed and 54% feeling a reduction in negative emotions.
COVID-19 made it clear we can find a better balance between work and life. 85% of U.S. adults already approve of moving to a 4 day week. Clearly more businesses are starting ot listen, Data from over 50-million job posts on the employment marketplace shows the percentage of companies offering four-day workweeks has almost tripled in the last three years.
IT’S ALREADY IN FULL SWING
At Peterson Portable Sawmills Head Office and Manufacturing Facilities in Rotorua, New Zealand, we have been operating with flexible hours and working days, offering all staff Glide Time since 2003, with most employees setting their own hours and days of work. This also included half-days on Fridays for everyone. CEO Kerris Browne commenting “I have always believed in a work-life balance that doesn’t make you feel guilty for taking time off to visit the doctors.” Now the move is being made to trial a four-day work week Monday to Thursday for all Peterson’s staff.
As a result of the global response to Covid-19 and lockdowns, Peterson Portable Sawmills experienced an insurgence of sawmill sales, along with most leading sawmill brands globally, leading to long wait times especially for us manufacturers, facing material shortages and like everyone, global shipping times and costs blew out.
This caused a great amount of pressure on our staff and overtime was regular to get our sawmills built and out the door. Kerris continues, “Now, it’s only fair to give some ‘own-time’ back to our staff. Living in NZ means outdoors and sports and children and creativity – this way, our staff are able to spend more time with their families, pick up that hobby they always wanted to do, or complete the home renovation project.”
Many of the passionate staff at Petersons HQ in New Zealand already have side incomes, hobbies or passions to explore outside of work, like our in-house Squash champ and Sawmill Expert Aaron Kalan, who also enjoys among other hobbies, his family time, windsurfing, hunting and fishing. Our work-from-home Sawmill Expert Greg Sheehan enjoys watching the sun rise and set over the Firth of Thames and could use an extra day to get out on the water, over the mussell beds and enjoy the small things in life.
Polly Nicholls wears many hats in the Petersons office having been with us since 2020. With her glide time, Polly has been increasing her capacity for her side hustle of flipping furniture (@flippingpolly) and prioritises her family and wellbeing.
“I love the control and autonomy it gives me over my time and work environment. It’s empowering to structure my day in a way that suits my personal preferences and needs.One of the biggest advantages is achieving a healthy work-life balance. I don’t live to work; I work to live. With my flexible schedule, I can dedicate ample time to my family, pursue my hobbies, and take care of my well-being. It’s incredibly rewarding to have the freedom to prioritise both my work responsibilities and personal commitments.Working during my most productive hours, which happens to be in the morning makes the day fly. I can focus better and accomplish tasks more efficiently. Flexibility allows me to align my work with my energy levels and concentration peaks, resulting in better outcomes and a sense of fulfilment.”
Our Factory Foreman Paul who has been with us for 20 years now, commutes around 140kms daily to work and back. He has been working 4 days for some time now and says it works well for him “because all the jobs you have lined up for the weekend you can do on the Friday leaving the weekend for family time.”
Arsh Kaur began working with Petersons full time in 2022, bringing her experience in the world of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and technical drawing. “For me, it has become a game-changer, allowing me to explore new opportunities and cultivate a secondary income stream through my newly launched cleaning company Cleaning Masters Rotorua.
The condensed work schedule has provided the freedom and flexibility to invest time and energy into my entrepreneurial pursuit. Moreover, having one whole day exclusively for planning and strategizing has been instrumental in maintaining the smooth functioning of both my primary job and the cleaning venture.
This dedicated day allows me to fine-tune operations, devise marketing strategies, and envision long-term goals without the constraints of daily work responsibilities.”
Peterson’s CEO Kerris Browne adds, “When employees come to work on Monday, they can fully focus on work for those four days, knowing they have Friday for all their own personal and family needs – they won’t be stressing about asking for time off and trying to juggle family appointments into an already-full week. I think that’s a huge win-win.”
Peterson Sawmill Owners have already been informed about a direct line for technical assistance every other day of the week as we are dedicated to maintaining the same level of support we are known for and our team will still be here for you all, 36 hours, Monday to Thursday to answer your call toll free from most countries.
For all USA enquiries, Please Call Darian at Sawyers Choice on 1 877 327 1471.
For enquiries in every other country, please visit www.petersonsawmills.com/contact for the best way to contact us directly.