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Can A Four-Day Work Week Actually Work in Australia?

Twenty-six organisations across Australasia have been trialing the four-day work week and the results are in.

The idea, as enabled by trials run by 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit community established by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, is that employees get 100% of the pay for working 80% of their standard hours in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% productivity.

In this morning’s episode of The Briefing, host Katrina Blowers spoke with the Managing Director and Founder of 4 Day Week Global, Charlotte Lockhart as well as Wendy Green who is the Communications and Partnership Manager of Monumental Mental Health.

Lockhart spoke to the results of their Australasian pilot program which revealed the vast majority of companies prefer working a 4-day week.

The six-month trial, which 26 organisations embarked on last August, found that 95% of organisations favour the reduced schedule.

Over the course of the pilot, there was also a 44% average reduction in absenteeism and 9% reduction in resignations.

The Australasian data is very similar to the data that we’ve seen in the UK, Ireland, and North America,”

Lockhart said.

Pointing to the key reasons businesses take part in their programs, she said: “the number one reason why businesses join our pilot programs is to attract and retain quality staff.”

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As for Green, whose Toowoomba-based community health organisation took part in the Australasian trial, she said the benefits lay in reducing burn-out and retaining personnel.

“You see quite a high rotation through the mental health system specifically.

Retaining staff is tricky in our industry and people burn out on the average of between two and four years,”

she said.

“We definitely were looking for better ways to reward our staff …  and also find ways to retain them essentially.”

The Managing Director said the trial also saw a 20% rise in productivity.

“We didn’t realise how much time we were actually wasting in just those quick conversations in the hallway, or not having an agenda for a meeting or even just chatting up a couple of minutes like to a meeting.”

“It’s amazing how much your productivity goes down with those tiny little incidences.”

There’s no way we won’t be recommending that we move forward with this permanently,”

she added.

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