Four-day Working Week Trials Are Coming To Australia

Aoibhinn Mc Bride looks at how the four-day working week has gone around the globe.

Is it possible to achieve the same results, profits and output in a four-day work week instead of the standard five days?

While the roots of the seven-day week can be traced back to the Babylonians 4,000 years ago, the five-day, 40-hour week is a relatively recent construct, and was mandated in the US in 1940. A lot has changed since the 1940s, from advances in technology to work-life balance now being a priority, so are its days numbered?

Pilot scheme

The concept of a reformed working week is gaining traction across the globe and 4 Day Week Global, the worldwide initiative that has been piloting a four-day working week (32 hours) with no loss of earnings in Ireland and the US has reported that 27 of the 33 companies involved are now leaning towards retaining the four-day model going forward. A separate trial in the UK will wrap-up in February 2023.

And following on from a successful 18-month pilot in New Zealand, Unilever is extending its own four-day work week trial to its Australian business, after it found that 67% of employees reported a better work-life balance, stress dropped by 33% and feelings of vigour at work increased by 15%.

Following the 100:80:100 principle—where staff retain 100% of their salary, work 80% of the week and still deliver 100% of business outcomes—employees in Australia will mirror the behaviour of those who took part in the New Zealand trial and be able to work with their managers to agree their day off or the working hours that are most beneficial to them.

This flexibility also extends to availability around meetings, getting back to emails and using technology to adapt day-to-day work practises to drive efficiency and free up time to work on what’s really important.

Flexibility is key

Speaking about the company’s decision to adopt a four-day work week in Australia, Placid Jover, expertise, innovation and finance chief HR officer shared: “In the world of work, we know flexibility is key to attracting talent and having an engaged workforce. This trial is part of a much bigger commitment to engaging with our people to look at flexibility and new work models, with the aim of evolving, adapting and improving the experience of work.”

He also added that while the company which is made up of 148,000 employees working in a mix of office-based, lab-based, production and field-based roles across 190 countries won’t be able to adopt a one size fits all approach, Unilever’s aim is to be responsive to the changing needs of its workforce, “to test and trial solutions and create new ways of working that enable our people and our business to thrive.”

Although the four-day week trial results at Unilever New Zealand have galvanised further adoption within the company, the concept is yet to go mainstream.

However, if you’re looking for similar flexibility from your employer, it could be time to look for a new role in a company that is actively trying to foster a better work-life balance. The Professional Beauty Job Board has hundreds of opportunities, like the three below.

Clinique – Counter Manager – Myer Bondi – Part Time, The Estée Lauder Companies, Sydney

If you’re looking for flexibility and autonomy in your next role, this Clinique – Counter Manager opportunity could be it. You will have total accountability for creating and executing an agile business plan to recruit and retain customers through strategic targeting, impactful in-store events, exceptional customer relationship management and the leadership of a high performing team. You’ll also need proven retail management experience and be proficient in Microsoft Office applications. See the full job spec here.

Experienced Beauty Therapist, Laser Clinics Australia, Noosa

As an Experienced Beauty Therapist with LCA Noosa, your role will include providing cosmetic services such as laser hair removal, skin treatments, skin needling, medical-grade peels, microdermabrasion and Kleresca. You’ll have a qualification in beauty therapy, preferably in dermal therapy, two years experience in a clinical environment and superior customer service. Find out more here.

Regional Development Manager – WA, Dyson, WA

The Regional Development Manager will be tasked with building and managing relationships with Dyson retailers to create a true Dyson customer experience within their retail space. You’ll work closely with national account managers, marketing and finance teams to ensure sales targets are delivered in your area. You’ll proactively own and grow your region by identifying and delivering opportunities and conducting robust business discussions with retailers incorporating market intelligence, category facts, sales data and Dyson marketing and promotional plans. Apply now.

For more great roles in the beauty industry, visit the Professional Beauty Job Board today

This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.

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