More than a dozen businesses in Australia and New Zealand are set to take part in a four-day working week trial, just weeks after the start of an identical trial in the UK.
Thousands of UK workers from 70 companies launched the pilot this week.
Under the six-month pilot project in Australia, which will begin in August, employees at 20 companies are working one less day per week with no reduction in pay.
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The trade-off for workers receiving 100% of their salary for working only 80% of their usual week is that they maintain 100% of their productivity.
Participating Australian and New Zealand companies range from a marketing and communications agency to a health and wellness organization. Tech company Our Community is one of them.
“Our community was a traditional office-based business and with what we have learned over the past two years, we are now able to implement change, trust employees to maintain productivity and ensure work-life balance is supported,” said CEO Denis Moriarty.
“Mostly, we are responding to the change we are seeing, with employees having more of a say in what they want work to look like in the future.
“Companies cannot grow, have social impact or reach incredible valuations and new heights without their people.
“It’s time for us as leaders to find ways to give some of that investment back to them, not just in salaries, bonuses and equity, but over time, so they can use the rest of those things to build a life they love.”
The program is run by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global in partnership with researchers from Auckland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of Sydney and Boston College.
Andrew Barnes, the entrepreneur who designed the four-day week and later created 4 Day Week Global, said the program isn’t just about work-life balance and productivity.
“We recognized long before the pandemic that the five-day week was no longer suitable for our purpose, and as we tested and studied the four-day week, it became clear that it is a necessary part of the solution to restoring the climate balance, among many others. other documented benefits,” he said.
“We simply cannot continue as we have been, and we welcome the forward-thinking companies and business leaders across Australasia who are driving this change and showing the way forward.”
Identical pilot projects are also underway in Canada, the United States and Ireland.
So far, Iceland had conducted the largest pilot project to reduce the working week between 2015 and 2019, with 2,500 public sector workers involved in two large trials – which found no decline in productivity among participants and a dramatic increase in employee well-being.
Calls to shorten the working week have grown in recent years in many countries.
As millions of employees have transitioned to remote work during the pandemic – cutting back on costly travel time and costs – calls for greater flexibility have only intensified.
Government-backed trials are due to take place in Spain and Scotland later this year, the 4 Day Week campaign has announced.
4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor said workers had shown they could work “faster and smarter”.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier of competition is quality of life, and that short-time, performance-driven work is the way to give them an edge. competitive,” he said.
Researchers will measure the impact the new work model will have on productivity levels, gender equality and the environment, as well as worker well-being.
– with CNN