Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a Minute?” This week: asking for a four-day week, a man worried about being labelled a misogynist, and a disappointing recruitment process.
Our site currently works a standard 38-hour week and some team members would like the option of moving to a four-day week. Management is hesitant, so I was hoping you may be able to share any research that shows the four-day week can benefit not only staff, but employers too.
There are many studies, both in Australia and internationally, showing a four-day week has benefits not just for employees but for organisations. In a global study of 26 companies (including two in the construction industry), 10 Australian companies participated in the trial of a four-day week in 2022. Of those companies, 95 per cent decided to continue with the four-day week because they found resignation rates fell by 8.6 per cent, sick and personal days off fell by 44 per cent, 64 per cent of employees experienced reductions in burnout and 38 per cent of employees felt less stressed. Momentum is building. Last month, Bunnings signed an agreement with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association for a four-day working week trial.
A recent Senate Select Committee on Work and Care also recommended in their final report that women’s participation in the workforce and shared caring responsibilities could be addressed through a four-day week. So if your employer cares about seeing more women employed on your site (and hopefully, they do), a four-day week could help.
I’m a man in senior management and a colleague I work closely with is openly hostile towards me, and others, at every opportunity. I’ve discussed this with her manager and HR who revealed it has been an ongoing problem for years. Her manager is often present in meetings where this person interrupts and bullies people, yet he simply ignores her behaviour. My worry is that, as a man, if I call her out, I may be seen as a misogynist. Why is her boss allowing her to get away with this behaviour? How do I know I’ll have his support?
You are not a misogynist if you seek to be treated with respect at work. It is irrelevant your colleague is a woman – she is behaving in a way that undoubtedly breaches any code of conduct or workplace policies you might have in place. Further, if your employer is aware of, and tolerating, her bullying behaviours they may be breaching workplace safety laws as well.
Her boss should be acting on this but if that doesn’t happen, and if HR continues to do nothing, then history would suggest nothing will change, even if you say something. Answering your question; if you call her out, I suspect you won’t have anyone else’s support. Only you can decide how long you might be prepared to tolerate this behaviour for.
I was approached by a former manager who mentioned there was a role within his workplace I’d be well-suited for. After the job interview, despite being told I was “the number one candidate”, the company hired someone else. I was never told why. This company has messed me around several times now, both with interviews and potential offers. Is this a common story or an indication of uncertain times?
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