Back to work - the Amy foundation employment stimulus Business Backing SA - COBRA War Room
Photo Cred: Business South Africa

Is South Africa ready for a 4-day work week?


Johannesburg, South Africa (13 September 2022) – Forward-thinking businesses have an opportunity to sign up as “South African pioneers” in a 4-Day Work Week pilot kicking off in early 2023.

The four-day week is being adopted all over the world in a bid to improve productivity and wellness in the workplace. Now South Africans can try it too. In a joint initiative between 4 Day Week Global and the 4 Day Week SA Coalition, South African businesses are invited to join a pilot with planning to start in November this year.  

With Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report showing that only 24% of South African workers are engaged at work and only 29% are thriving in their overall well-being, the time is ripe to relook not just where we work but how, when and for how long.

The 4 Day Week is based on the 100-80-100™ model, developed by co-founders of 4 Day Week Global, Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, in the landmark Perpetual Guardian trial in New Zealand in 2018. The model prescribes 100% of the pay for 80% of the time in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the output. It is recognised as a way of supporting and empowering workers, enhancing organisational productivity and positively impacting societies and the environment. 

South African business owners and leaders have been watching the roll-out of the world’s most extensive four-day week trial in the United Kingdom (UK) with interest. Over 70 companies are currently experimenting with this new way of working.

Questions are being posed. Is South Africa ready for this? What challenges could it help solve? And how best to go about it? 

“Being an early adopter and market leader in reduced-hour, productivity-focused working establishes businesses as innovative, progressive and forward-thinking. The greatest risk is that your competitors try this before you do,” says Andrew Barnes.

The National Business Initiative (NBI) joins Stellenbosch Business School and a growing base of partners in the 4 Day Week SA Coalition – in support of the 4 Day Week as part of the future of work in South Africa. 

To launch 4 Day Week SA and the pilot opportunity, the NBI is hosting a webinar – on Wednesday, the 21st of September 2022, from 10 am – 12 pm.  

The 4-Day Work Week to be Piloted in South Africa! Are We Ready?
Photo Cred: 4 Day Week SA Coalition

Speakers will include 4 Day Week Global’s Barnes and Lockhart as well as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, who is the Programme Director at 4 Day Week Global, author of the book Shorter and an expert in helping people and organisations create a “million new years of free time”.

Gugu McLaren-Ushewokunze, Head of Economic Inclusion at the NBl, will lead a discussion with local experts: Phillipa Geard, Founder and CEO, RecruitMyMoM; Candice Watson, Director, Mwangaza Talent Advisory; Professor Mthunzi Mdwaba, Chairperson of the Board, Productivity SA; and Shawn Theunissen, President of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

All those interested in hearing more about 4 Day Week SA and the upcoming pilot can register here for the Free Webinar.

“South African companies have the opportunity to test and rethink a way of working that, if done thoughtfully, could go some way in addressing workplace challenges and possibly our more complex societal issues,” said Gugu McLaren-Ushewokunze. 

About 4 Day Week Global

4 Day Week Global was founded in New Zealand by 4 Day Week architect Andrew Barnes alongside entrepreneur and philanthropist Charlotte Lockhart in 2019, following the world-renowned success of their pioneering trial of the four-day working week in Perpetual Guardian in 2018.

Since then, 4 Day Week Global has supported hundreds of companies from a variety of industries all over the world to run four-day week trials, or make the permanent transition to reduced-hour, productivity-focused working.

Their approach is based on the 100-80-100™ principle designed by Lockhart alongside the Perpetual Guardian trial in 2018 – 100% of the pay, for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the output.

This model is proven to deliver both improved company productivity, efficiency and performance alongside greater employee well-being, engagement, and work-life balance. Research from leading international academics suggests the four-day working week can be a truly triple-dividend policy: better for the economy, society, and the environment.

Initially established as a networking community for like-minded people and organisations interested in exploring the shorter working week and as a vehicle for global advocacy, 4 Day Week Global has grown to become the global market leader in supporting businesses and governments who wish to experiment with or implement work-time reduction.

The development of 4 Day Week Global’s pilot programme in 2021 has enabled the organisation to respond to the exponential growth in demand for and interest in the four-day working week and to shift to a model which can uniquely support employers and employees to run trials at scale.

The organisation has now joined forces with some of the world’s most prominent and preeminent experts in this field, including bringing on board dynamic leader and campaigner Joe O’Connor as chief executive officer, author, speaker and consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang as global programs and development manager.

Its ambition is to make a four-day working week the new default and reduced working time the new standard. Its intention is to lead and grow the global movement for a shorter working week to make this a reality worldwide.

Sources: 4-Day Week South Africa 
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens, or share your good news with us by clicking here or click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes there’s good news around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *