Four-day work week gains momentum – Medibank set to launch trial
Medibank is challenging long-entrenched traditional ways of working launching a six-month trial of a four-day work week for 250 of its employees, supporting the company’s ambition to be the healthiest workplace in Australia.
The trial has been designed together with 4 Day Week Global and will be monitored and measured by Macquarie University’s Health and Wellbeing Research Unit, Macquarie Business School, to inform and refine the initiative over time.
Beginning this month, the experiment will be based on the 100:80:100 model, whereby employees maintain 100% of their pay, reduce their working hours to 80%, while maintaining 100% productivity.
Dubbed “The Gift”, employees taking part in the trial will be provided the gift of time to do anything that brings them joy, in return for their efforts to remove low value work from their day and create capacity. For full-time employees The Gift equates to one full day and is pro-rated for part-time employees.
Medibank employees have reacted with excitement and buzz and are looking forward to having even more time to focus on their health and wellbeing.
Those participating in the experiment said The Gift will give them more time to focus on their health and wellbeing, including more time for rest, family, friends, exercise, cooking and hobbies like gardening, music and golf.
Medibank Group Lead – People, Spaces and Sustainability Kylie Bishop said that while Medibank was already an incredibly flexible organisation, this was the next step in the company’s leading approach to work and driving a more innovative and high-performance culture.
“We're really wanting to bring the future of work into the now of work,” she said.
“For more than 18 months now, we’ve been exploring how we can work smarter, offer greater flexibility, and create the best health and wellbeing for our people, in support of our customers.
“There are lots of pressures out there right now, whether it’s cost of living or people managing their work and home commitments. We’re constantly thinking about how we can help balance that for our people and invest in their health and wellbeing to help prevent issues like burnout.”
Ms Bishop said the experiment was about empowering employees to focus on work that has the greatest impact for customers, reducing red tape and making a real difference in the lives of its people.
“The goal is not to work a compressed work week but to find opportunities in our work to rethink wasted or non-value add work, remove bureaucracy that’s not effective to make space for the gift of time. We will continue to support our customers at the same levels or higher as we’ve always done,” she said.
“Our hypothesis is that by creating the opportunity for even greater flexibility, our people and teams will adjust their way of working to improve the value of their outputs and reduce unproductive time. As a result, our people will be happier and healthier, and absenteeism and employee retention will improve. We think that’s worth trying and learning from.
“We want our people to genuinely enjoy their work and what they do. We believe that by developing a creative and innovative culture within our organisation, we will be able to improve the experience for both our people and customers in the process,” she said.
Medibank Chief Customer Officer Milosh Milisavljevic said we are all excited about creating the best health and wellbeing for our people, in support of our customers.
“We already know from past experience that when our teams have more flexibility and empowerment, our customers are the big beneficiaries – satisfaction is higher and our people can more quickly and innovatively meet customer needs,” he said.
More than 250 Medibank employees will take part in the 6-month trial, including part time employees and frontline customer teams.
Macquarie University’s Health and Wellbeing Research Unit, Macquarie Business School will extensively and independently monitor and measure a range of employee and customer metrics including customer advocacy and operational metrics like absenteeism and attrition, productivity and performance effectiveness. The team will also monitor a range of employee health and wellbeing metrics to understand the impact on rest, sleep, and wellbeing of participants.