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A Day In The Life: Charlotte Lockhart and Andrew Barnes from The 4 Day Week

Charlotte Lockhart is the chief executive officer of the 4 Day Week, and her husband Andrew Barnes is the founder of Perpetual Guardian, the company that's been making headlines across the world for dropping down its hours. Perpetual Guardian trialed a four for six weeks last year, and made it permanent once the trial ended. The point is that employees don't earn less or work longer hours, they just have to make sure the same amount of work gets done. Here, Lockhart talks how her and Barnes get through their big days and short weeks. 

Do you want to hear more about the four day work week? Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart are speaking at The Common in Parnell next month about the experience of shifting to the 4-day work week and its positive effects. Find tickets here (registration is free if you're a member of The Common).

What time do you wake up?

Between 6 and 6.30am, a sleep in is 7am, even on the weekends.

What kind of work do you do?

We promote the 4 Day Week internationally through advocacy, consultancy, media interviews, writing and lobbying.

What’s the ideal way to start your day?

Andrew brings me coffee and then we go for a walk together.

Do you have any morning rituals?

Andrew makes coffee and then we go for a walk before a light breakfast, more coffee and a LONG shower.

How soon do you begin doing work-related things each morning, such as checking phone or emails?

We check our emails over breakfast, although we will often discuss work on our walk. If we are overseas we will check email first thing as we will generally need to be on the phone as soon as we wake.

What’s your media consumption or interaction like – which podcasts, radio, videos, books, magazines, and news sites do you read or listen to?

We consume a lot of media, it is an integral part of our lives. Either Andrew or I will do between three and ten media interviews a week depending on what we are launching. We subscribe to a media monitoring service which send through notifications at 5am and then also through the day. We listen to podcasts which we or other 4 Day Week campaigners are interviewed on. The news radio in the morning. We read and subscribe to the various news media (daily, weekly and monthly publications) from NZ, UK, Australia and US online. Andrew subscribes to classic car and yacht magazines and I subscribe to house and garden magazines.

What do you think is unique about the way you approach your work?

We are a partnership passionate about what we do. Our work is varied and interesting so we always looking for new opportunities which we can approach together.

How have you managed to execute a four-day working week?

We implemented a 4 Day Week at Perpetual Guardian in 2018, the process we used and the results are available for anyone to see at 4dayweek. For us, Andrew often jokes that we work 4 Days in each of our businesses. Though seriously our “work” does not look like most peoples’.

What changes have been implemented, and what are the challenges that have come with that?

The changes implemented into our company are numerous but boil down to 3 key points.

1. Including the staff in the management of time and productivity in the business.
2. Measuring on productivity, not time.
3. Having the 4 Day Week as a performance measurement for our leadership.

Has there been much resistance or pushback to the idea of a four-day working week?

Leaders often struggle to see how a 4 Day Week will work for them or their industry and so have a tendency to discount it and shut the idea out. There is a famous quote attributed to Henry Ford which says, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t… you are right”. I prefer to work with the many business leaders who are interested in how a 4 Day Week can change their business and want to make an impact.

What are people’s usual reactions?

They either love the idea and are curious as to how to make it work, or think it will not work.

Do you think it’s realistic for other companies to easily achieve?

It is realistic for all companies to be able to do this, it will be easier in some companies than others.

Why/why not?

Our programme provides a pathway to the 4 Day Week. It has been tried and tested in a variety of companies around the world and they all report the same thing – it was a challenge but worth it.

What responsibility do you have in a typical day?

The responsibility I place on myself each day is to progress the cause one step further. This is typically through engagement with business, media, advocates or lobbyists.

What takes up most of your time? Reading research papers, news, social media and other reports, talking with businesses and media and planning.

 Where do your best ideas come from?

Each other.

What does resilience look like to you?

Being clear who you are,  then using your skills to do things which you are good at and having confidence in yourself when you do.

What has been the most transformational business practice you’ve implemented at your work?

The 4 Day Week.

What social or environmental issues inform the work you do, as well as what you’re aiming to do with your company’s overall vision?

The 4 Day Week impacts on so many issues which face our society. It talks to the gender pay gap and gender inequality, the environment, family and community issues, mental and physical health solutions, wellbeing in the workplace, and business productivity issues.

There is a famous quote attributed to Henry Ford which says, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t… you are right”. I prefer to work with the many business leaders who are interested in how a 4 Day Week can change their business and want to make an impact.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

The moment when a company leader ‘gets” it.

What about the least enjoyable?

I don’t have one.

Do you have any side hustles you’re juggling alongside being an entrepreneur?

Our whole life is side hustles!

Do you procrastinate?

Yes

Is it good or bad?

Sometimes not acting straight away can give you time to sort through the best reaction or answer in your head.

What’s your best productivity hack?

Being clear of your goals for the day, choose a task list system which suits you.

Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity?

Yes.

If so, how?'

A to do list each day, and a review each week. We find that our lives change direction regularly so we are always ready to adapt what the outcomes will be. Those around us quickly learn this new pace.

What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day?

I work with a number of members of my family and have a business circle which includes many friends.

Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/partner/friend?

Yes, but you need to be able to delegate and you need to know when to say yes. When you do say yes, you need to do it with commitment.

Do you get stressed?

Yes, but not all stress is bad.

If so, how do you manage it?

We walk, we talk and we go to our house on Waiheke and have a quiet weekend. I love to do things like make marmalade, the process of chopping and making something which takes time I find very soothing.

Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?

Not really.

What do you do once you get home?

If it’s in NZ we will have a glass of wine and review the day together, I like to cook, so I will do that. If we are in the UK, we will have a glass of wine and take a walk in the garden.

Can you switch off?

I’d like to say yes, but we are very busy so switch from one thing to another as our way of switching off. Business to the garden or kitchen, public engagement to times alone together sharing ideas on a walk. Meetings in the city to curled up in front of the fire reading.

What do or don’t you eat or drink to maintain your performance throughout the day? I try to drink plenty of water, I’ll usually try to eat a light lunch. Because we travel a lot managing my body clock through jet lag is most important.

What time do you go to sleep?

This varies. We are out at night a lot for work, so it can be around 11pm, but if we are home of an evening we will be in bed by 10pm.

How many hours sleep do you try to get each night?

Usually between seven to eight.

Any special techniques for a good night’s rest?  

Plenty of water during the day, not eating too close to bed time and not being too hot. One of the things I will always do in a hotel room is make sure the air-conditioning is set to the right temperature.

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