Regional Victorian Law Firm Trials Four-Day Work Week, Aims to Attract and Retain Quality Staff


Summary: A law firm in regional Victoria, Cosgriff Lawyers, is trialling a four-day work week in an effort to recruit and retain top talent. This initiative allows full-time employees to work 34 hours across four days but still be paid for five. The first month of the six-month trial has shown positive results, with employees reporting increased job satisfaction and productivity. Other regional businesses are also exploring the four-day work week, with advocacy organization Four-Day Work Week Australia supporting this shift.

Cosgriff Lawyers, a law firm based in Echuca, Victoria, is among the regional businesses in the area that have decided to trial a four-day work week. The firm’s directors hope that this initiative will help with the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff in regional Victoria. The trial involves full-time staff working 34 hours across four days but being paid for a five-day work week. This change has allowed employees, like office manager Georgie Wakenshaw, to have more time for personal activities, such as fishing on her extra day off.

Ms. Wakenshaw believes that the extra day off has had a positive impact on her productivity and overall well-being. While she does work longer hours on the days she is at work and occasionally takes calls or texts from colleagues on her day off, she appreciates the opportunity her employer has provided. She emphasizes her willingness to do whatever it takes to make the four-day work week successful for herself and the company.

Cosgriff Lawyers ensured a smooth transition to the new schedule by engaging in six months of consultation with their team of 11 staff. They implemented careful planning to ensure that hand-over processes were seamless and employees’ days off were staggered to avoid any gaps in the roster. This initiative is part of the firm’s broader efforts to build a positive work culture and create flexibility to attract and retain talented individuals.

Similar to Cosgriff Lawyers, other regional businesses are also exploring the possibility of implementing a four-day work week. Myers Planning and Associates, a planning consultancy based in Warrnambool, has also started a six-month trial of this scheme, prioritizing the well-being of their team and the goal of working smarter, not longer. This shift towards shorter work weeks has garnered support from advocacy organization Four-Day Work Week Australia, which highlights the benefits companies can gain, such as increased job attraction and satisfaction rates.

Adrian McMahon, co-director of Four-Day Work Week Australia, encourages businesses to make the switch early, as those that embrace the four-day work week now will have a competitive advantage in attracting top talent. While office-based workplaces with standard hours are well-suited for this change, McMahon also suggests that other industries, such as hospitality, can explore the benefits of a reduced work week.

Tags: four-day work week, trial, recruitment, retention, regional Victoria, work-life balance, job satisfaction, flexibility, advocacy, work culture