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This Queensland workplace has trialled the four-day week. Now staff have delivered a verdict


A Queensland workplace has embraced the four-day work week just halfway through a six-month trial, saying staff satisfaction and customer service have improved.

Toowoomba-based Momentum Mental Health is one of only 20 workplaces across Australia and New Zealand to pilot a four-day working week.

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“We’re serving more clients than we have before. Our customer satisfaction is holding and in some cases, it’s increasing,” chief executive Debbie Bailey told 7NEWS.

“From a staff perspective, we have people experiencing less stress, they’re having more sleep each night, their work-life balance is better and they’re generally happier in the workplace.”

Bailey said she had been “interested” in the concept for years before putting it to staff.

What made trialling it attractive this year was the “really competitive” labour market where employers find it “very hard to attract good staff and retain those staff”.

Staff at Toowoomba’s Momentum Mental Health have been trialling the four-day work week. Credit: 7NEWS

After Momentum Mental Health’s board supported the idea, Bailey put it to staff.

She said they were “really interested” but there was some reluctance around fitting their regular weekly workload into four days.

“However, they were all prepared to give it a go and do the work that was needed to put it into place,” she said.

Several changes were made to ensure required work is completed.

For example, meeting times are shorter and strictly capped.

Momentum Mental Health CEO Debbie Bailey (right) and team leader Asif Jamiyoon. Credit: 7NEWS

Also staff are now able to clearly communicate to each other when they are not to be disturbed.

How? They place a rubber duck on their desk. Staff call it “duck time”.

“Everyone has a couple of hours each day where they’re locked away and focussed on that important work,” said Bailey.

“The stats are that if you do 50 minutes of deep-dive work, that’s the equivalent of two to three hours of normal work time.”

Team leader Asif Jamiyoon said he was reluctant to go back to five days a week when the trial ends in March.

He said the “challenge” of compressing work was “working well for us”.

Staff use a rubber duck to communicate with colleagues to not be disturbed. Credit: 7NEWS

“I love it,” he said.

“We can’t think about going back to five days now. We are used to four days.

“We are happy now.”

This week, 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit helping companies in Australia transition to the four-day model, published research into the findings of global trials.

The findings are based on surveys with 27 companies that are partaking in trials.

According to the report, the companies rated their overall experience with the trials as a “9” on a 0-10 ascending scale from “very negative” to “very positive.

“Among the 27, 18 are definitely continuing, seven are planning to continue but haven’t made a final decision yet, one is leaning toward continuing and one not yet sure,” the report said.

“None are leaning against or not planning on continuing.”

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Source: 7News