Four Day Work Week on Channel 9 Today Extra
Date: 6 November 2023 10:47am
Media: Channel 9’s Today Extra Show, National Australian Television
Story: Four Day Work Week
Hosts: David Campbell and Sylvia Jeffreys
Guest: Sue Ellson
Video Links: https://9now.nine.com.au/today/should-more-aussie-companies-implement-the-four-day-work-week/aaaac40f-081c-4f06-8c2c-e18d4d18fe7b
On Monday 6 November 2023, I appeared on Channel 9’s Today Extra show to talk about the Four Day Work Week that is gaining a lot of momentum across Australia.
What was once a concept a few years back was scoffed at. The 4-day work week has now grown to be a widely embraced practice and the research is backing it up. It’s said to increase productivity and mental health although not everyone is on board. Career Expert Sue Ellson joins us to discuss. Sue, how does the 4-day work week benefit employees?
Well as you say stress, burnout and fatigue definitely go down, mental health and well-being go up there was an Australasian study completed last year that took 6 months from 4 Day Week Global and what they found of the 26 companies that they surveyed that 95% of them were keen to adopt it going forward. Now if you think about back in the 1800s people were working 14 hours a day 6 days a week and it’s 75 years since we got the 5 day work week so yep, here’s for the the 4-day work week coming up.
All right, so the results are speaking for themselves. How do employers benefit too?
Well interestingly they’re going to find that there’ll be a decrease in absenteeism um a 36% increase in revenue they’re going to find that the um actual at home when people go home from work they’re helping out around the house more but even when they come to work there’s likely to be a lot less absenteeism and you’re really going to um engage more and and spread the load around more and that that should be really positive going forward.
Well the stats are all pretty good but there are some employers who aren’t embracing that so there must be some drawbacks what are they well?
I guess smaller businesses are going to find it much harder than larger employers. Self-employed people could also find it difficult. Scheduling if if an operation is open 5 days a week how do you manage that. Now obviously people take holidays and are sick now but are we going to be able to manage that going forward that’s going to be a little bit trickier and just overall it’s it’s an adjustment it’s going to take time to get our heads around it and understand that this is the new way forward.
But if you love your job and you you still want to stay there but you think this is right for you how do you approach your employer?
Well essentially you’re going to have to provide some sort of evidence to let them know that this is working they’re going to need some time to think about it you’re going to have to systemize it and trial it and make sure that you get other people on board in the office it’s not something you’re going to be able to implement overnight so it is something you need to plan. That Four Day Week Global website has some resources about the transition and the implementation of it so there’s there’s resources around that could definitely help as well.
And what if they say no what what’s next?
Yes, look under the Fair Work Act if you’ve been employed for 12 months with your current employer you do have the right to ask for flexible work arrangements. Now obviously 4-day work week and especially if everybody decided to take it that’s going to be a huge adjustment so you need to understand what the needs of the employer are and if there’s not a fit and you can’t discuss it then obviously as I’ve said many times before, improve your job search skills and go out and see if you can find someone who does because we are moving from a society that is going from hours to output and this is is part of that trend.
All right Sue great information there thanks so much for your time Thanks Sue, see you soon when we return
Q1. Sue – how does the four day work week benefit employees?
Research completed by the University of South Australia shows that it leads to
- less stress
- less burnout
- less fatigue
- better mental health
- better work-life balance
A six month Australasian study completed by non-profit organisation 4 Day Week Global completed last year monitored 26 companies and 95% prefer working a 4 day work week.
Apparently, it has meant the life partners share more of the domestic duties and it has also been shown to slow down climate change.
Back in the 1800’s, Australians were working 14 hours a day, 6 days a week and it has been 75 years since we moved to a five day 40 hours per week, so it is about time for a change.
Q2. The results speak for themselves – so how do employers benefit too?
The international research by 4 Day Week Global showed
- 36% increase in revenue over previous year
- 54% reported an increase in work ability
- 42% decrease in employee resignations
- 68% reported a reduction in burnout
- 63% found it easier to attract talent
A 36% increase in revenue is a good place to start, but also, a reduction in the number of resignations and an increase in work ability. They also found it easier to attract talent, after all, there are plenty of people of all ages looking for flexible hours with the goal of working to live rather than live to work.
Q3. Are there any drawbacks?
FOUR DAY WORK WEEK DRAWBACKS
- may not help self-employed
- people may try and have two jobs
- more scheduling required
- inequality during transition
- managing without talent
Small businesses may not be able to provide the same level of flexibility as larger employers and I can’t imagine many self-employed people cutting back to four days.
Enterprises that are open for five days will need to do a lot more scheduling and there may be some bumps in the road during the transition when people need to manage without the full team on board.
I would also be curious to know if leaders would still need to be on call.
Q4. How could you approach an employer about the potential of a 4 day working week?
ASK FOR FOUR DAY WORK WEEK
- provide research evidence
- have systems in place
- ask for a trial period
- follow an implementation process
- get others on board
Firstly, you would need to collect some evidence and make sure there are systems in place so that it could work on an operational level.
You would need to go through some sort of trial and implementation process and ideally ask your colleagues if they would also be interested in negotiating for a four day work week.
It is not something you can implement overnight.
Q5. And if they say no Sue? What do you recommend?
Well you may not be able to insist upon a four day work week but under the Fair Work Act, if you have been with your employer for more than 12 months, you do have the right to request flexible working arrangements.
That said, I would say it is important that you understand the needs of the employer and discuss it together so that any adjustment to your hours could work for you both.
If you can’t come to an agreement, as I often say, sharpen up your job search skills and look around at your other options as I believe more employers will realise it works for them and their employees.
I would also encourage you to consider working close to home as well, not just working from home or four days a week.
Should more companies implement a four-day work week? By Tom Livingstone
Australian Four Day Work Week Research and Findings
Fair Work Act – Request Flexible Work Arrangements
FOUR DAY WORK WEEK // 📅 Are there benefits for employees and employers? 📃Does the research back it up? After 75 years of the five day 40 hour week, are we ready for change? If your employer says no, what other options do you have?
I discuss these issues in this short segment on Channel Nine’s Today Extra with David Campbell and Sylvia Jeffreys, produced by Brayden Dykes and summarised by Tom Livingstone.
All details and resources links at https://sueellson.com/blog/four-day-work-week-on-channel-9-today-extra
#fourdayworkweek #careers #sueellson