As offices across the country continue to reopen, discussions about the possibility of a four-day working week are on the rise again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up our perception of a typical working week.
With more people working, or preferring to work from home post-lockdown, the argument for a four-day work week has never been stronger.
In an office environment, employees buckle down, cram their work for the week into four days, and then relax knowing they won’t have to look at a computer screen again for several days. If this applied to workers all year, they would essentially get 50 extra days in the year to better handle their work/life balance. Parents would be able to spend more time with their children, work on projects around the house, travel to more places on the weekend.
The number of businesses offering compressed working weeks (such as a four-day working week) to their employees has risen by 29 per cent in the past four years, according to Mercer’s 2021 Australian Benefits Review.
Twenty-seven per cent of Australian organisations now offer a compressed working week as a benefit.
The pandemic has accelerated the way in which employers respond to the mental health needs of their people.
And we know that flexibility can reduce workplace stress, boost mental well-being and encourage productivity. It’s not surprising that organisations are investing in benefits that prioritise flexible work arrangements.
Despite the many potential benefits, there are a number of significant issues to consider before the four-day working week could be adopted in Australia.
While a post-COVID world is an ideal time to shake up the typical work week formula, ultimately it comes down to cost.
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