Leading parts contract manufacturer, Sevaan Group, announced today it is trialling a 4-day week to evaluate improvement in staff well-being, attracting new talent, and increasing productivity.
The trial period will run for three months, from 11th September until the 31st December. The Group is spreading the normal 38-hour, 5-day work week over four days. Each day encompasses two shifts, morning and afternoon, consisting of 9.5 hours each.
According to Sevaan Group’s CEO, David Green, the management-led initiative gained traction as a result of the positive outcomes attained by overseas companies that have already trialled the 4-day week. “The evidence suggests that these firms are benefitting from improved productivity, reduced sick leave and unapproved absenteeism, and a general increase in their employees’ well-being.”
“The improved well-being of staff is particularly of interest because it aligns so strongly with Sevaan’s culture. We are a very employee focused organisation and our staff’s well-being is paramount. We have already introduced an EAP – LifeWorks – which provides staff with confidential, expert counselling across a broad range of issues, should they request it. We are hoping that a 4-day working week will further support our staff’s wellness. The evidence suggest that it helps to reduce anxiety, stress, fatigue and burnout,” explained David.
A 4-day week is also appealing when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. “The manufacturing market in Australia is already very tight when it comes to hiring new staff. The 4-day week provides employees with a shorter working week, and more free time to spend as they please. This greater work-life balance is no doubt attractive to prospective staff, and helps to further differentiate Sevaan and reinforce the Group as an employer of choice,” said David.
Evidence from US and UK companies which have already trialled the shorter week indicates that there is no fall in productivity, and that in some cases it has increased. When the working week is condensed into four days, the longer weekend allows staff to re-energise themselves. This can translate into better concentration and morale on the shop floor and in the office, and an increase in productivity.
With staff backing the initiative 100%, David is quietly confident that the 3-month trial will yield positive outcomes all-round. “As management, we can only provide the framework to help make it happen. It’s our staff who are critical to the trial’s success. They understand the positive impact it will have on their work-life balance and well-being. And given their commitment to making it work, I believe that at the very least, productivity and service deliverables will not falter. In fact, they will probably improve.”
Sevaan will monitor the impact of the trial and collate data weekly across a range of factors including well-being, absenteeism and productivity. The results will be displayed on the shop floor.
Prior to the end of the 3-month trial and before deciding whether to extend for a further three months, the Group will assess all metrics and develop a report for its senior management team.