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More companies offering staff a four-day working week

Published: in Australian News by .

The shift is being lead by businesses “reimagining” their benefits programs responding to how the coronavirus pandemic has affected staff.

More Australian employers are offering their staff a four-day working week as a form of flexible conditions, a new study has found.

Those who took part in the shortened week reported feeling "less stressed" and had less of a "risk of burnout".

Organisations offering a four-day week instead of five, at full-time hours, has risen by 29 per cent in the past four years.

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That's according to new data from Mercer's 2021 Australian Benefits Review.

That means more than one in four Australian organisations - 27 per cent - are offering this benefit to their employees.

The shift is being led by businesses "reimagining" their benefits programs to attract and retain employees, Mercer says.

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Commuters in the nearly empty Sydney CBD.

"The clear themes emerging from this year's study are increased support for employee wellbeing – across mental, physical and financial – and flexibility is inextricably linked to this," Chi Tran, Head of Market Insights and Data at Mercer's workforce consulting practice, said.

"The pandemic has accelerated the way in which employers respond to the mental health needs of their people. And we know that flexibility can reduce workplace stress, boost mental well-being and encourage productivity.

"It's not surprising that organisations are investing in benefits that prioritise flexible work arrangements. It's integral to the employee experience."

And it appears the shorter working week is actually helping to boost overall productivity.

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"Trials of a four-day work week in Iceland were an overwhelming success and led to many workers moving to shorter hours," Ms Tran said.

"Workers reported feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, and said their health and work-life balance had improved."

Mercer says businesses were also looking at ways to expand their employee wellbeing programs with 97 per cent of companies having a program in place.

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A formal strategy or policy to support flexible working arrangements has been adopted by 76 per cent of organisations.

Meanwhile, 95 per cent offer an Employee Assistance Program, up from 89 per cent in 2019.

The most commonly provided items in the health and wellness programs include free access to healthy food, flu vaccinations, and health and wellbeing education seminars.

Source: 9News

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