The four-day work week: 30% of Australians predict it being the norm

03 January, 2024

  • New research reveals that one in four Australian workers believe it will be normal to have full flexibility over hours in five years
  • 11% of Australian workers say their employers now offer a four-day week to help support mental health in the workplace
  • Major changes to workplace entitlements like annual leave is also anticipated

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – January 2024, The prospect of a four-day working week could be closer than we think, reveals a new survey of over 1,400 Australian workers conducted by leading HR and Payroll solutions provider ADP. The ADP® Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View, found that three in ten Australian workers (30%) think that a four-day week will be the norm in their industry within the next five years.

This is not just wishful thinking on the part of employees - 11% of Australian workers say their employer already offers four-day work week arrangements as a means of promoting positive mental health at work, a trend that has increased by 8.6% since last year.

As traditional working patterns continue to undergo significant shifts, one in four Australian workers believe it will be the norm in their sector to have full flexibility over their hours within the next five years (provided they get their jobs done, based on productivity and results metrics). 24% foresee a hybrid working model becoming standard practice in that time.

Kylie Baullo, Managing Director ANZ at ADP, says: “The four-day working week is no longer a distant dream – it’s rapidly becoming a tangible reality in Australia.”

“When traditional approaches like pay rises or offering remote work arrangements are not feasible, employers should explore innovative ways to ensure employee satisfaction, loyalty, motivation, and talent retention. They need to think outside the box.”

“A four-day working week could be a favourable solution for both employers and employees. If a four-day working week aligns with business needs, enabling workers to achieve a better work-life balance without compromising productivity, this will result in a mutually beneficial outcome for all.”

“Numerous businesses are already reaping the advantages of this change. The fact that an increasing number of companies are utilising a four-day week as a means to enhance mental health-wellbeing highlights the significant transformations in the workforce over the past few years.”

Recent research suggests that implementing a four-day working week can be a successful strategy.

Other flexible working options and entitlements are expected to change. 13% of Australian workers believe that in the next five years it will be the norm to purchase additional holiday allowance. One in eight (12.5%) think that it will also become common practice to reduce their salary in return for more annual leave.

People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.


For more insights, please read the ‘People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ report.

About the research

ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between 28 October and 18 November 2022 including over 8,613 working exclusively in the gig economy. This included:

  • 7,721 in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India and Singapore)
  • 15,290 in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK)
  • 5,751 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
  • 3,850 in North America (USA and Canada).

Within the worker sample gig workers and traditional workers were identified. Gig workers were identified as those who work on a contingent, temporary, or seasonal basis, or as a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, gig worker, or use an online platform to source work. Traditional employees were identified as those who are not working in the gig economy and instead have a permanent full or part-time position.

The survey was conducted online in the local language. Overall results are weighted to represent the size of the working population for each country. Weightings are based on labour force data from the World Bank,[1] which is derived using data from the ILOSTAT database, the central statistics database of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as of February 8, 2022.


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[1] Source: The World Bank, Labor force, total, World Development Indicators database, February 8 2022