Four Day Work Week on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair
Topic: Four Day Work Week
Date: 31 January 2024
Broadcaster / Interviewer: Tony Moclair
Producer: Joseph Campbell
Time of show: 12:07
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOW0YB77mks
Now I I wonder if it’s already happening where you work. It’s a uh it’s a gathering storm and it looks like it’s going to happen. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the Four Day Work Week. It’s a concept thrown around uh in modern society but it is gaining traction not only here in Australia but you’d be amazed at the number of countries around the world seriously looking at four day work weeks. Hello Dominican Republic. Yes. Germany’s now looking at it, um we know the French have taken a serious squiz at it, Brazil too. A new survey of over 1,400 Australian workers conducted by Leading HR and Payroll Solutions provider ADP reveals that 30% of workers in Australia think a 4-day work week will be the norm in their industry within the next five years. I’m very keen to know from you 13 3693 is that your own experience? But more importantly I want to know with what we used to call blue collar jobs, the people who actually make things that help society function, is it going to be a thing, um amongst uh uh amongst the class of people who still actually help us uh maintain a functioning civilization? Is it going to happen at the Werribee Sewerage Farm? Is it going to happen in the building industry? Plumbers, are you doing a 4-day work week? I want to know if it’s uh that concept has has made its way into those particular Hands-On Industries if we want to call them that. Sue Ellson is a Career Expert and uh is certainly across this. She knows whereof she speaks. Good afternoon Sue.
So um there’s been a lot of talk about this and I was really as I said quite surprised when I saw how widespread the consideration of it uh is around the globe.
What’s your what’s your mail on that?
Well there’s two ways of looking at it. Some people would be familiar with the idea of cramming your 40-hour week into 4 days so that means four 10 hour days but the new method is actually involving, you get 100% of the pay, you work four days a week and in theory your productivity improves. Now there’s been a lot of research conducted since 2022 by the Four Day Week Global not for-profit Advisory Group, including in Australia and 26 of the organizations that were survey said 95% said they would move towards it because of the benefits of less stress, less burnout, less fatigue, better mental health, better work life balance, and I think if you think about like things like the rising cost of child care. Yeah. If there’s two parents and you’re both working four days you could actually structure it so you only need three days of child care. So you know there there’s lots of other little perks that could come as a result of moving in this direction, but to your point about the people who do the the regular jobs, I think the people who are most likely to potentially miss out are the self-employed.
Because you know we we’re stuck working every day
Yep and also
Yeah, go on.
Oh well people who do contract work um
People who do uh uh short-term work, freelancers, that sort of thing. They don’t have this option do they?
No, they don’t and it’s definitely going to be in favour of large organisations. Small businesses, if you imagine that you’ve got to be operational five or six days a week and if you cut certain number of workers back to four days
Then you might have the extra cost of training somebody else to to cover those days but then on the other hand if your employees come in and they’re more productive and they work better and there’s less absenteeism you’re going to pick up on the other side of the scale there.
Uh okay you’ve mentioned burnout. Uh four consecutive days of 10 hours, does that not lead to burnout?
Well that would be the old model this new model is talking about you actually only work the 4 days but you’re still expected to do the five days worth of work in that time.
So okay so it’s a productivity tradeoff is it?
Correct, correct. So you are expected to improve your productivity. Now we all know we could all get an extra two hours in our day if we just stop looking at our phones.
Maybe that could improve productivity to get the phone out of the way uh but yes and and there’s a lot of organizations that have already done it. Kath Blackham from the Versa Group she’s you know implemented it she’s a raving fan of it and I was at a webinar yesterday you know the other issue that employers are having is they can’t keep people anymore because everybody’s expecting that flexibility now and interestingly if you’ve worked for an employer for 12 months you actually under the Fair Work Act you have the right to ask for flexibility, so in theory you could actually ask for those four days.
13 3693 13 3693 should Australia implement a 4-day working week would it work for you? Would it not work for you? I really want to hear from uh people who run and own small businesses because they are the engine of the economy they’re Australia’s largest employer so you would have thought that um this sort of thing would be more tailored to them but it it’s not exactly a Level Playing Field is it Sue?
Because um the big companies have a disproportionate amount of power and influence when it comes to uh shaping workplace relations.
Well they have a lot more systems and processes in place that they can tweak. So for instance, they could just create a policy where there’s No Meeting Mondays
And that kind of thing and so that means that on the No Meeting Monday you get all your work done. Now there’s another implication of even the work from home debate.
Which is yeah they’re getting people to come into the office and they they’re working on the basis of the fear of missing out so they make it a fabulous experience to come into the office and you get them there but then those people who are accustomed to working from home end up having to go home and then doing the work that they would have done if they weren’t in the office you know so there’s actually some people even though they’re working from home if they’re coming into the office they’re getting that double layer of work too so there’s you know we really are in a time of significant transition and fluctuation and I think it’s going to be a bumpy road for a while yet.
Okay, so is it uh the sort of thing that is going to favor what we call the laptop class and we we saw them almost sail through COVID
When other parts of the economy people who work with their hands as I was saying were were deprived Mmm of the ability to go to work. Um is it.
Is it more going is it going to uh favor them rather than other sectors of the economy?
No I actually think it’s going to favour the people who do have to show up for work.
So if we think about the 1800’s we were working 14 hours a day six days a week.
It’s now more than 75 years since we moved to a five day work week. Now you imagine someone on a shift roster if they’re only required to work four days out of seven instead of five then they’re going to get some of the benefits that some of those perhaps work from home people have been getting up until now so I actually see it being a fairer way going forward.
Sue Ellson Career Expert thank you for your time this afternoon. Uh what a superstar, Sue Ellson um I’m keen to get your thoughts on this 13 3693.
FOUR DAY WORK WEEK // ⚒️The new model – 100% pay, 80% hours, 100% productivity. ⌚ The old model, five days of eight hours crammed into four days of 10 hours. 🕰️Research from ADP® Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View, found that three in ten Australian workers (30%) think that a four-day week will be the norm in their industry within the next five years. 📅
Tony Moclair and I discussed this topic on Nine‘s 3AW 693AM Radio Melbourne today. 📻
✅ already implemented in Dominican Republic, Germany, France and Brazil
✅ impact on traditional and blue collar jobs
✅ reduction in stress, fatigue and burnout
✅ better mental health and work-life balance
✅ more challenging for self employed and small business
✅ large organisations have more systems and processes to work with example of No Meeting Mondays
✅ under the Fair Work Act, employees with 12 months or more service can request flexibility
✅ people working on site may gain benefits that people working from home have had
✅ still in transition and a bumpy road ahead
Enjoy the show online at https://sueellson.com/blog/four-day-work-week-on-3aw-693-am-radio-melbourne-with-tony-moclair
This link also includes the full interview transcript, references, links and other information you may find helpful.
Thanks to Producer Joseph Campbell for reaching out!
➡️ Has your workplace considered the four day work week option?
➡️ What are your thoughts on the idea?
I would love to continue this discussion and find out how we will navigate the future of work!
#3awmelbourne #fourdayworkweek #careers #sueellson #tonymoclair
Four Day Work Week Segment on Channel 9
Four Day Work Week Research and Findings
‘People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ report
Gigsters Book – for people wanting to use technology to attract aligned gigs
Podcast Recording of the Show – starts at 00:00:38 – 00:08:04
https://omny.fm/shows/3aw-afternoons/is-a-four-week-working-week-inevitable (just the interview)
https://omny.fm/shows/3aw-afternoons/3aw-afternons-with-tony-moclair-31st-january-2024 (includes Callers afterwards)
Additional Comments and Links by Sue Ellson
Hybrid & Flexible Working Practices in Australian Workplaces in 2023
CultureAMP HR Trends: What’s to come in 2024?
Understanding different generational needs in the workforce
HR Trends: What’s to come in 2024? – APAC – Webinar Recording
Australian companies that trialled four-day work week haven’t looked back, report finds
Does a 4-day work week help or hinder Australian business?
A few other comments I would like to add…
- around 40% of jobs in Australia can be changed to exclusively work-from-home
- last century, the majority of households had one adult working and one adult running the house
- if you would like to ask your employer to consider this option, you will need to provide evidence, develop systems, trial and implement it over time, but you will also need to get others on board to support the change
- the Four Day Week Global website has some resources you can use for the implementation process at https://www.4dayweek.com
- allocating one day of the week for personal matters and two days for household and friends and family allows for ‘time blocking’ and a greater sense of control over one’s lifestyle
- will managers and leaders be able to request this level of flexibility too?
- from my experience, everyone of every age is interested in more workplace time flexibility and it may be the only sustainable way forward after the disruption of the pandemic