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Fewer hours, same pay: The 4-day work week is coming

Aussie workers in the city. Australian money notes. Four-day work week concept.
Millions of Aussies want to shift towards a four-day work week. (Source: Getty)

Millions of Aussies want to move towards a four-day work week, new research has found, and most bosses are on board.

More than half (61 per cent) of Aussies thought a four-day work week would be “increasingly important” to them in the next two years, an Indeed survey of 2,003 Aussie workers and job seekers found.

Employers are also weighing up the change, with 70 per cent saying they were “very” to “fairly comfortable” with offering a four-day work week to employees in the next two years.

The number of job ads mentioning a four-day work week increased in recent years, Indeed found, but it was still a relatively rare perk.

“In October, 0.8 per cent of job postings on Indeed mention '4 day work week' or some other variation of that term,” Indeed senior economist Callam Pickering said.

“That's up from 0.6 per cent in October last year, 0.5 per cent in October 2020 and 0.4 per cent in October 2019. Over the past three years, the share of postings mentioning a four-day work week has more than doubled [up by 107 per cent].”

More companies offering four-day weeks

Earlier this month, consumer goods giant Unilever announced it was trialling a four-day work week for its Aussie staff. Workers will still receive their full pay and are expected to maintain 100 per cent of their productivity.

It followed a successful trial with New Zealand staff. In that trial, Unilever reported a 34 per cent drop in absenteeism. Staff also reported a better work-life balance (67 per cent), and a drop in stress (33 per cent).

Indeed organisational psychologist Amanda Gordon said a four-day work week could help Aussies be more mindful at work because they had more time set aside for personal things.

“Mindfulness is a core component of good mental health and wellness,” Gordon said.

“People talk about being happier when they can do their work in four days and have an extra day to do other things. They feel less rushed.”

Not every job would suit a four-day working week, Gordon noted, including jobs that required a certain amount of time to do or jobs that charged by the hour.

“There are some jobs where it is not possible. But for many jobs, the output is about being able to focus intently on what you are doing,” Gordon said.

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