Opinion: Why other businesses should give the 9-5 the boot

OPINION: New Zealand trust company Perpetual Guardian has made the four-day week permanent after a successful trial - and other companies should follow suit. 

Workplace flexibility is a hot topic at the moment, and companies that don't embrace a new way of doing business will be left behind. The antiquated 9-5 business model is no longer suitable for modern workplaces.

I worked a four-day week for some time after having my first child. I only got paid for the four days.

My workload, however, didn't decrease - and I was achieving as much in four days as I did in five. It is certainly possible to work smarter, not longer.

By being flexible, companies open the doors to smart, time-savvy employees who will loyally get the job done, while maintaining a work-life balance.

The results from the Perpetual Guardian trial prove this: working a four-day week meant stress levels decreased, productivity increased, and wasted time at work fell by 35 percent.

Flexibility doesn't necessarily mean working a four-day week. Depending on the type of business, companies could offer the option of working remotely, or for staff to work flexible hours.

There still seems to be some reluctance on the part of business leaders to ditch the 9-5 operation, and I don't get it.

Clock-watching is a major bugbear of mine, and simply being in the office doesn't equate to being productive. I have seen employees arriving early and leaving late - all the while achieving very little in terms of actual work productivity.

It is important business leaders get their heads around a new way of working to appeal to a new generation of workers. According to a study by Bentley University, 77 percent of millennials say flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age.

By 2025, millennials will make up as much as 75 percent of the global workforce, the Bentley study says.

And not being in the office doesn't mean skiving off work. The same study also showed 89 percent of millennials check work email after work hours.

Employees are important to the success of a business. Flexibility is often as important as remuneration when it comes to retaining and recruiting that talent.

Offering flexibility inevitably makes people feel valued, and productivity will certainly increase.

Rhonwyn Newson is Newshub's features editor.