Kiwi company spreading word of four-day working week makes Time100 Most Influential Companies List

  • 22/06/2023
"Who would have thought you could do that from a crazy idea back in 2018?"
"Who would have thought you could do that from a crazy idea back in 2018?" Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

A not-for-profit Kiwi company paving the way for businesses to implement four-day working weeks has made Time Magazine's 100 most influential companies list.

4 Day Week Global runs pilot programmes across the world, helping businesses decide if a four-day working week would work for them.

Andrew Barnes came up with the "experiment" in 2018 and has since spread the four-day working week word around the world, from Aotearoa, the US, Canada, UK, Ireland to South Africa. 

In a statement, Barnes said being named one of the Time100 Most Influential Companies for 2023 shows the journey 4 Day Week Global has been on.

"This is the journey from 2018, when we first had a crazy idea to find out how we could improve productivity in our company, to now, and what has become a global movement with governments, councils, organisations, charities, and businesses across the world, all rethinking how we work," he said.

"Who would have thought you could do that from a crazy idea back in 2018?"

Though COVID-19 doesn't have many silver linings, Barnes said it accelerated the movement to a four-day week. He said the pandemic taught us all two things.

"One, that you don't need to be in the office to be productive; you can trust your staff.

"Two, that we had to develop measurements of output which were not related to the amount of time people spent in the workplace. That's at the heart of the 4 Day Week movement. How can you work with your employees to find a way to do things better, and so productivity doesn't drop?

"But uniquely, instead of the benefit of working smarter, going to the shareholder or the boss, it goes back to the employee in the form of more time. More time for themselves, more time for their families, and more time for their communities."

Barnes said if the four-day week is done right, there could be positive impacts on the planet too. 

"If we don't go out to work one day a week, that reduces emissions and congestion because there are fewer cars on the road. People are happier because they're healthier. We don't need so much from health services in the long term. We also appear to do low-carbon activities on our day off."

He believes if businesses give their employees more time, the culture of convenience where people are buying online and receiving deliveries, which come with a heavy carbon footprint, will start to shift.

"We will have more time to do things for ourselves and more time to do things for our planet. We have more time to spend with our families, care for our parents, have more time to educate our kids and more time to do things for our communities."

He said giving people "the gift of time" is at the heart of the benefit of the four-day week.