We’ve recently moved our business to a four-day work week and are excited about the greater flexibility and work-life balance this will bring to our team. Many companies worldwide have begun trialling four-day work weeks and the potential benefits are many, including increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and improved talent attraction and retention.
I found Juliet Schor’s TED Talk, ‘The Case for the Four-Day Week’, really inspiring. In it she shares how this new model for the future of work can help address major challenges for businesses, including burnout and the climate crisis. Schor has been leading four-day work week trials in the US and Ireland and the results have been overwhelmingly positive so far, from increased employer and customer satisfaction to revenue growth and lower turnover.
The trend is not limited to North America either, with trials of four-day weeks being run in Australia and New Zealand. One example is multinational Unilever, which has expanded its trial of a four-day work week to staff in Australia after a successful 18-month pilot in New Zealand.
In the New Zealand trial, which ran from December 2020 to June 2022, 80 employees worked four days a week at 100% of their pay, while committing to 100% effort for the business. The company reported strong results meeting business targets. Absenteeism dropped 34% and the staff in the trial reported a 33% drop in stress and a 67% decrease in work-life conflict.
Four-day workweeks also reduce the environmental impact of commuting and this can help companies meet their sustainability goals. With a shorter workweek, employees have one less day of commuting, which can lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
Why we’ve moved to a four-day work week
Work-life balance and a happier, more fulfilled team were our main driver. During COVID restrictions we all worked from home and discovered how well this working in allowing our team to better juggle their commitments.
We all have different demands on our time – kids, aging parents and even pets require flexibility in working hours to meet their needs. Having that extra day gives us more freedom to schedule medical appointments, spend more time with our loved ones, pursue hobbies we find fulfilling, and engage in more self-care activities.
Happier staff, happier clients
This change is really beneficial for our clients too, because happier, healthier staff are more engaged and productive.
Together, our team decided that Fridays would be the least impactful day for our clients, so we are now working Mondays through Thursdays each week. Our back office support will still be working on Fridays, attending to reception and answering calls, so we will be just as reachable should our clients need urgent assistance on a Friday.
We’re delighted we’ve made this move and hope that we may even inspire other businesses to follow in our footsteps.
Considering making changes to how your workplace works? We’re always happy to talk about our experience. Talk to us! Call anytime on (02) 8268 2900 for an obligation-free chat.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.