During the six-month trial period, employees will not see a decrease in their pay for working one fewer day per week.
Just weeks after a similar trial began in the UK, more than a dozen Australian and New Zealand-based companies plan to participate.
This week, tens of thousands of UK employees at 70 companies began the pilot.
Employees at 20 companies in Australia will begin a six-month pilot in August, in which they will work one fewer day per week without losing any of their pay.
Workers who receive 100% of their wages for working only 80% of their normal workweeks maintain 100% of their productivity as a trade-off.
From a marketing and public relations firm to a health and wellness organisation, Australian and New Zealand companies are taking part. A good example of this is the technology company Our Community.
CEO Denis Moriarty said, “Our Community has been a traditional office-based company, and with what we have learned in the past two years, we are now in a position to implement changes, trust employees to maintain productivity, and ensure work-life balance is supported.”
Employees now have more of a say in how their jobs will be organised in the future, so we’re making changes in response.
“Without their employees, companies cannot expand, make a social impact, or achieve amazing valuations and new heights.
This investment should be returned, not just in wages, bonuses, and equity, but with time so that they can use the rest of those things to build a life that is meaningful to them.”
Researchers from Auckland University of Technology, the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney have teamed up with 4 Day Week Global to run the programme.
There’s more to the four-day workweek than just work-life balance or productivity claims the entrepreneur who came up with the idea and founded 4 Day Week Global, Andrew Barnes.
To put it another way, “We were aware of this issue long before the pandemic, and as we experimented with the four-day week, it became clear that this is an essential part of the solution to restore climate balance, as well as many other documented benefits,” he added.
Australasian companies and business leaders who are driving this change and showing the way forward are welcomed. “We simply cannot go on as we have been.”
Pilots from all over the world
Canada, the United States, and Ireland are also conducting similar tests.
Before this, Iceland has performed two of the biggest experiments of a shortened working week, with 2,500 public sector employees participating in both trials – and found no reduction in productivity among participants, and a remarkable gain in employee well-being.
Shortening the workweek has become a hot topic in a number of countries over the past few years.
As a result of the widespread adoption of remote working by employees during the pandemic, calls for greater organisational adaptability have only grown louder.
According to the 4 Day Week Campaign, government-sponsored trials will be conducted later this year in Spain and Scotland.
Employees have shown they can work “shorter and smarter,” according to 4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor.
The new frontier for competition is quality of life, he said, and “reduced-hour, output-focused working” is the vehicle to give companies a competitive edge as we emerge from the pandemic.
Workers’ well-being, productivity, gender equality, and the environment will all be studied as a result of the new working pattern.