April 2022

Are you ready for a 4 day work week?

The current 5-day work week was introduced in the late 1940s. Today, countries like Belgium, Spain and Japan have joined an increasing list of nations making the move toward a four-day work week. 

In Canberra, a Legislative Assembly inquiry is examining a transition to a four-day work week, leading Aussies to question whether it’s time for another change. 

Overseas, some companies who have taken the leap, suggest productivity among small teams has never been better. Some have also opted to make meetings shorter and streamlined the usual crush of emails with auto responses for perfunctory exchanges.

But the model comes with many questions. Some experts suggest there are budget and economic constraints. For example, smaller businesses are already struggling to find staff.

It isn’t just the five-day work week being questioned. Post pandemic lockdowns and working from home have renewed the desire for more work flexibility.

Reducing the standard work week to four days may seem like a great idea with broad public support, however submissions to the ACT Legislative Assembly have suggested potential downsides.

Associate Professor at the University of Canberra, Bruce Baer Arnold’s submission to the inquiry made particular note of the risk to staff on fixed-term contracts, casual workers and gig economy workers. 

However, experts suggest that perhaps the most positive outcome from the ACT inquiry may come in the form of a case study that can be used for national consideration.

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