- 71% of Australian employers would support a 4-day work week for their staff.
- 34% expect their organisation will transition to a 4-day work week within the next five years. Another 37% say they might transition within this timeframe.
- 41% say employee requests and feedback will play a role in the decision, followed by changes to business models/operations (39%) and business results (37%).
- SME employers are most likely to transition their organisations to a 4-day work week within five years.
- Only 13% will not be swayed for any reason in their decision not to implement a 4-day work week.
Sydney, 9 May 2023 – The traditional Monday-to-Friday work week could be on the way out. New data from specialised recruiter Robert Half suggests a 4-day work week may be gaining more support in Australia as workplaces continue to fine-tune post-pandemic schedules and working conditions. More than seven in 10 (71%) Australian employers would support a 4-day work week for their staff with 34% stating they will transition to a 4-day work model in the next five years.
Another 37% of employers believe it is a possibility. Only 28% of employers do not believe a 4-day work week is likely.
SMEs leaders are most supportive of a 4-day work week, with more than one-third (38%) stating it will be in place within five years and a further 34% considering the transition possible. Large employers are more apprehensive, with only 27% believing it will occur within the next five years and 30% not planning to implement this change.
Changing times cause a shift in the workplace
When asked about the factors that would make Australian employers consider implementing a 4-day work week, more than four in 10 (41%) employers say employee requests or positive staff feedback will influence their decision to implement a 4-day work week. Other factors include business results (37%), whether changes to business models/operations will allow it (39%) and if it works at other companies, they will look at doing it too (36%). About a quarter (26%) believe a skills-short market will also play a role in their decision.
Only 13% of employers state they will not consider transitioning to a 4-day work week for any reason.
“Companies have embraced remote working as a result of the pandemic, but they are realising there are opportunities to alter their workplace strategies to offer the flexibility their teams request while also supporting culture, collaboration, and efficiency,” said Nicole Gorton, Director at Robert Half.
"Flexibility has never been so important to the modern-day workforce. Granting individuals the freedom to establish their own schedules exemplifies a sense of trust and can be seen as companies taking the next step to transform the way we work to foster sustained work-life harmony. With candidates placing flexibility in their top priorities, offering a 4-day work week helps attraction and retention efforts, while also contributing to staff morale and productivity.”
“With successful 4-day work week trials across the globe creating momentum, Australian employers are showing an increased willingness to consider the transition if their business model allows it.”
“However, implementing a 4-day work week is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Potential pitfalls include longer days, which may lead to burnout or employee dissatisfaction as well projects and products taking longer to complete.”
“Businesses need to evaluate whether this move is at all possible based on their operational model and customer base. If this is off the cards, offering other flexible benefits like remote working options or early finishes provide a strong alternative that allows the opportunity to tend to personal commitments. Four-day work weeks are not the only way to accommodate flexibility, so it boils down to what extent companies can facilitate these changes,” concluded Gorton.
Notes to editors
About the research
The study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online in November 2022 by an independent research company, surveying 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.