A New Zealand company has been experimenting with giving employees a shorter work week. And it's paying off.

The financial trust management firm Perpetual Guardian wanted to see what would happen if they gave employees a healthier work-life balance. So, they moved their 240 employees to a four-day workweek without it affecting their salaries.

Company founder Andrew Barnes said he hoped a better balance would encourage employees to focus more on their jobs while at the office, knowing they’d have more time at home to handle other responsibilities and pursuits.


"If you can have parents spending more time with their children, how is that a bad thing?" Barnes said. "Are you likely to get fewer mental health issues when you have more time to take care of yourself and your personal interests? Probably."

Barnes brought in a university professor to monitor the experiment, and the results were compelling.

Most employees said the change helped them with their outside lives. That’s not surprising. But it helped them at work too.

[rebelmouse-image 19397474 dam="1" original_size="600x299" caption="Let's face it: Being in the same office with the same people every day, five days a week and wondering if a better time-management system is out there largely just leads to hilarious antics worthy of a sitcom. Image from "The Office"/NBC." expand=1]Let's face it: Being in the same office with the same people every day, five days a week and wondering if a better time-management system is out there largely just leads to hilarious antics worthy of a sitcom. Image from "The Office"/NBC.

Auckland University professor Jarrod Haar surveyed employees after the trial and found that 78% said they were able to strike a healthy balance with work and their personal lives, an uptick of 24% before the switch to a four-day week.

Interestingly, there was also a 5% boost in happiness, attributed to the fact that Barnes included his company employees in planning the experiment, which they said reduced anxiety and made them feel empowered.

Haar says employees also showed greater productivity, with a 20% increase in "engagement," seemingly vindicating Barnes’ hope that workers would make better use of their office time.

"They were given the freedom to redesign things," Haar said, calling it a potentially "revolutionary way to work" for companies. Barnes says he’ll bring the results to the company’s board to consider making the change permanent.

When it comes to productivity, sometimes working less is more.

Even though this is just one test case, the Perpetual Guardian experiment is giving fuel to the notion that a healthier work-life balance is actually better for employee's mental health and can actually increase a company's overall productivity. With a win-win like that, it seems like this is an experiment more companies should look into.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Images from Instagram and Wikipedia

It’s true that much of our wildlife is in danger. Like, an alarmingly large amount. In 2021 alone, 22 species were declared extinct in the United States.

And globally, Earth is facing what scientists refer to as its “sixth mass extinction,” primarily thanks to human activity. You know, deforestation, climate change, overconsumption, overpopulation, industrial farming, poaching … the usual suspects.

It sounds like dystopian science fiction, but sadly, it’s the reality we are currently living in.

But today, there is a silver lining. Because the World Wildlife Fund recently reported 224 completely new species.

From a snake who channels David Bowie to a monkey with ivory spectacles, there are a lot of newly discovered creatures here to offer a bit of hope to otherwise bleak statistics.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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