Sydney Observer Contributor

Thursday could very well become the new Friday if changes are made to the working week. This does sound like the ideal situation for many Australians, in particular for maintaining a more sustainable work/life balance. However, there is much controversy surrounding the topic. Arguments for the shorter working week suggest that Australians typically prioritise work over their family and leisurely time, with more and more Australians putting in more hours at work than ever.

In a bid to improve levels of productivity and satisfy workers and employees, Scotland is the latest country to trial the 4-day work week. Other countries to have done the same trials include Spain, New Zealand, Japan and Iceland. Interestingly, New Zealand Estate Planning company Perpetual Guardian, recently made the 4-day work week a permanent option for all full-time workers, after it recorded a 20% increase in staff productivity. “In Australia, the pandemic has shaken up our perception of a typical work week. With more people working from home, it begs the question – should a 4-day work week be adopted here?” said Employsure Business Partner Emma Dawson. “The aspect of a 4-day work week most people consider is how it could benefit them. According to academics who observed the trial at Perpetual Guardian, staff had a higher level of job satisfaction, which resulted in lower stress levels, greater productivity and an improved sense of work-life balance.”

It seems that a 4-day work week in a nuclear heterosexual family would mean families would have an extra day for attending to unpaid labour, which typically falls onto women. The 4-day work week however also doesn’t suit our entire workforce, as it doesn’t take into account the work schedules of essential workers. The likeliness of this being implemented in Australia remains slim, and there are always advantages and disadvantages for this case. But one thing this debate does address is the hard-working nature of Australians nationwide.