The five-day work week has been a permanent fixture in Australian workplaces, however, the Greens have suggested that a four-day work week could be feasible.
Dr Lindsay McMillan, from global HR think-tank Reventure and lead researcher of the national campaign to renew workplaces – a future that works welcomed the announcement as the start of a robust debate about changing entrenched work practices.
“The debate around the four-day work week and penalty rates signals Australia is coming in the right direction when it comes to workplace wellbeing and engagement,” Dr McMillan said. “However, these one-off conversations will not achieve genuine change – we need to take a holistic approach to our workplaces.”
Dr McMillan said there was a need for a broader discussion on workplace issues, not just work flexibility to improve employee satisfaction and performance. “One survey showed employees feel like they can’t turn work off anymore, whether they were in the office or not, and that’s been a product of technological change. “Some Scandinavian countries have introduced some interesting initiatives like turning emails off on Friday night, to respect employees’ home lives,” he added.
The latest report from a future that works, Delivering Purpose and Meaning showed 77 per cent of millennials are looking for purpose and meaning in work and that 46 per cent of workers feel “always on.”
“We need solutions that address these changes and we are hoping today’s announcement sparks conversation on how to respond to the big challenges, innovatively and proactively,“ Dr McMillan added. “This is just the start of a conversation on work and we’re looking forward to engaging in a broader discussion that aims to deliver productive and purposeful workplaces.”
A future that works is a national workplace renewal campaign launched by global HR think-tank Reventure after research found 49 per cent of Australian workers were likely to look for a new job in the next year. This campaign is aimed at highlighting effective and practical solutions so that workplaces can more actively engage with modern challenges.