Russian PM says he is looking to bring in a four-day week for the country after seeing how it boosted productivity at New Zealand company that introduced it
- Dmitry Medvedev has said it’s ‘very likely’ his country will adopt a four-day week
- He cited New Zealand firm that saw productivity increase 20% with shorter week
- Workers’ constant pursuit of success lead to fatigue and chronic stress, he said
- Last month, WHO recognised burnout as occupational phenomenon resulting from workplace stress
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said it is ‘very likely’ his country will adopt a four-day work week in the future.
Medvedev, 53, said the shorter week will help workers overcome burnout syndrome and chronic fatigue.
He cited the Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based financial services firm, who saw productivity increase by 20 per cent when they gave workers a three-day weekend.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said it’s ‘very likely’ his country will adopt a four-day work week in the future
‘It is very likely that the future will see a four-day working week as the basis of the social and labour contract,’ Medvedev said at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
He added that workers’ constant pursuit of success lead to fatigue and chronic stress, which lowers productivity.
The World Health Organisation officially classified burnout syndrome at conference in Geneva last month. It’s described as ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’.
Symptoms include, feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.
‘It is very likely that the future will see a four-day working week as the basis of the social and labour contract,’ Medvedev said at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on Tuesday
Russia has one of the least productive work forces of the world’s major economies.
In October, a New Zealand company announced it adopted a four-day working week following a successful trial.
The 250 staff at Perpetual Guardian, an Auckland-based financial services firm, will now get an extra day off after a successful trial over March and April this year.
Company founder Andrew Barnes said there is ‘no downside’ to the new system after workers were shown to have reaped the benefits from the extra downtime.
According to a panel of academics who studied the effects on Perpetual Guardian’s employees, workers showed lower stress levels, higher levels of job satisfaction and an improved sense of work-life balance.
Perpetual Guardian CEO Andrew Barnes (pictured) said there were ‘no downsides’ to the new system
Workers will now be given the option of whether or not to opt into the new scheme, with those who opt to stick to a five-day structure given other benefits such as shorter working hours.
‘For us, this is about our company getting improved productivity from greater workplace efficiencies… there’s no downside for us,’ Barnes said.
‘The right attitude is a requirement to make it work – everyone has to be committed and take it seriously for us to create a viable long-term model for our business.’
Mr Barnes (left), pictured talking to New Zealand radio about the study, believes workers would be more productive if given a four-day week
Barnes said the experiment had potential implications for everything from work/life balance to the gender pay gap and the mental well-being of workers.
He said this could motivate employees to produce better work in a shorter time period.
The Academics who studied Barnes’ employees said in November last year just over half of staff (54 per cent) felt they could balance their work and home commitments, while after the trial this number jumped to 78 per cent.
Staff stress levels decreased by seven percentage points across the board as a result of the trial, while stimulation, commitment and a sense of empowerment at work all improved significantly, with overall life satisfaction increasing by five percentage points.