4 day work week pilot shows the need to shift tradition
The Sector > Jobs News > Four-day work week pilots showcase the need to transform the way we work

Four-day work week pilots showcase the need to transform the way we work

by Freya Lucas

July 10, 2023

Successful trials of the four-day work week in Australia and New Zealand have signalled the need to transform the world of work, RMIT researchers have said, in order to achieve sustainable benefits for the employee, the organisation and society.  


“It is not surprising that the reduction of working hours/days, without a pay cut, improves employees’ wellbeing, which can further boost their performance, productivity, innovation and creativity,” said lead researcher Professor Zhou (Joe) Jiang.


“Mental health and wellbeing issues are prevalent among workers and a main trigger of these issues is long working hours,” he continued.


“The introduction of a four-day work week delivers a strong message about the employer’s emphasis on work-life balance, openness to new and innovative solutions to support employees and a commitment to building a sustainable, resilient workforce.”


Strategically moving to a four-day work week has the potential to be ‘a game changer’ in many sectors, including early childhood education and care (ECEC), the Professor believes. 


“It is likely that organisations which effectively implement this practice in a way that suits their specific contexts will gain and accumulate competitive advantage quickly and sustainably.”


A key factor in the success of such initiatives will be the way in which jobs are designed, and re-designed, in line with a four day a week schedule. 


“The benefits of a well-implemented four-day work week may also go beyond the employee and the organisation to have a broader societal impact,” he added. 


“For example, less commuting helps reduce traffic jams and carbon pollution. It may also help workers enrich their family roles, and assist to address the society’s gender gaps, such as through enhancing flexibility for caregiving duties and increasing equal employee opportunities regardless of gender.”


Professor Zhou (Joe) Jiang is a Professor of Management who is a globally recognised expert in human resource management, career development and management, and employee wellbeing. 


His research is broadly around how the organisation can integrate its social and structural contexts to foster a healthy workforce which can thrive sustainably. Learn more about his work here.

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