The New Zealander Trying to Revolutionise the Working Week: ‘It’s a Rational Business Decision’.
More Than One-Third of UK Employees Are Unhappy in Their Jobs
Walking through rows of white-netted grapevines, Andrew Barnes pauses to lift the fabric and pick a syrah grape. Originally, his idea had been to simply plant a few vines in his back yard. “I’d always wanted some grapes on a property,” he says.
But the project snowballed: he leased one vineyard, then two. “We realised suddenly that we were producing a huge amount of wine – it had gone from being what was having a few grapes on the property to a wine lake,” Barnes says with a laugh, looking around at the hillside of vines. “I’m flippin’ hopeless – it goes out of control.”
Barnes, one of the pioneers of the four-day week, has an apparent penchant for projects that metastasise far beyond their original boundaries. As with grapevines, so with the four-day week. What began as an experiment with one of his own businesses in 2018 has expanded into a rapidly multiplying series of international pilots in Ireland, the US, UK, Israel and Australia-Pacific regions, working with universities around the world to study the results. 4 Day Week Global, the non-profit Barnes co-founded with Charlotte Lockhart, is expecting to run trials with 300-500 companies internationally this year.