The ACT Government is looking at introducing a four-day working week for its employees.

Following an inquiry by a Legislative Assembly committee, a trial for a four-day working week within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) public service was recommended late ;ast year. 

The government expressed interest in exploring this initiative further, committing to establish a working group in 2024 to create a roadmap for the trial, specifically focusing on which public sector workplaces would be most suitable. 

The suggestion came from the Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economy Equality's report, which followed hearings on proposed workplace reforms. 

The ACT Public Service (ACTPS) was deemed an ideal candidate to pioneer such a trial, considering various models including reduced hours without pay loss, compressed hours leading to longer workdays, and hybrid models. 

The 'reduction model' emerged as the most supported approach in the Territory, indicating a strong preference for maintaining full pay and conditions while potentially enhancing productivity and work-life balance.

New findings from the ADP Research Institute's 'People at Work' survey reveal a significant shift in the expectations of Australian workers. 

According to the survey, 30 per cent of Australian workers foresee the four-day working week becoming standard practice in their sectors within the next five years.

This change is not merely about reducing working hours but represents a fundamental restructuring of the traditional workweek, aiming to enhance work-life balance. 

The adoption of such a model is not just a nod to employee preferences but also an acknowledgement of its potential benefits on mental health and productivity. 

Experts say about 11 per cent of workplaces have already embraced the four-day working week, noting an 8.6 per cent increase from 2022. 

The success stories from these early adopters have shown promising results in productivity, challenging the traditional norms of work culture and business operations.

Additionally, the survey showed that a quarter of Australian workers anticipate gaining complete autonomy over their work schedules in the coming five years, provided they meet their productivity and outcome targets. 

The potential restructuring could see government employees completing their full-time duties in 32 hours, as opposed to the customary 37.5 hours, thus reducing the adverse effects of absences on productivity. 

However, this model might not fit all workers, especially those with family commitments, where it could potentially be more restrictive.

The movement towards a four-day working week is part of a larger trend towards hybrid working models, allowing employees to blend their professional and personal lives more seamlessly.