I have to say when I saw this article my ears certainly perked up. There has been a lot of talk lately about how Ireland is taking steps to implement new legislation in the coming months, all of which will ultimately help improve the work life balance.
For example, it is anticipated that the Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017 will soon come into force with the biggest change being that parental leave will increase from its current 18 weeks to 26 weeks for a child up to 12 years old (currently set at 8 years old).
There has also been a lot of discussion about the need to bring Ireland in line with other jurisdictions like the UK and Nordic countries to ensure the gender pay gap is marginalised.
So is it possible that the next step to improve this hot topic is to re-evaluate how we organise our working week and move away from the stereotype of a 5 day working week? This New Zealand company has taken a very proactive and open-minded approach by piloting workers to work a 4 day week, without amending their salary. The idea being that an employee is more likely to be productive in the 4 day window and concentrate on their work load in an efficient manner, when they know they have one day off during the week to sort out all life necessities that cannot always be done on a weekend. It could also for example, help to reduce child care costs for families.
Whilst it may seem a bit of a ludicrous idea to the ordinary employer, if you dig deeper into the thought process behind it and the actual results it is certainly an approach worth considering. I would anticipate that the more studies done into this type of work life structure will go from strength to strength and that the long term results are more positive than negative. Obviously there may be some work structures, due to the nature of their work, that won’t fit into this particularly approach – but perhaps this change in thought process will only encourage more inspiring ideas.
Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non work-related internet usage,” said Delaney. Andrew Barnes said he would take the results of the trial to the board to open up a discussion on how a four-day work week could be implemented long-term in his company. “If you can have parents spending more time with their children, how is that a bad thing?” asked Barnes, who believes the new work model has the potential to profoundly impact society for the better. “Are you likely to get fewer mental health issues when you have more time to take care of yourself and your personal interests?