Medibank announces the launch of a four-day work week trial

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Medibank has announced it will launch a six-month trial of a four-day workweek for 250 employees.

The company said the trial has been designed together with '4 Day Week Global'. It will be monitored and measured by Macquarie University’s Health and Wellbeing Research Unit.

Beginning this month, the trial will be based on the 100:80:100 model. Employees will maintain 100 per cent of their pay, and reduce their working hours to 80 per cent while maintaining 100 per cent productivity.

Employees taking part in the trial will be provided with what the company describes as 'the gift' of time in return for their efforts to remove low-value work from their day and create capacity. 

Medibank Group lead for people, spaces and sustainability, Kylie Bishop, said that while the company was already a flexible organisation, the trial is the next step in its 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 most significant 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 added, “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 need."