Why one Sunshine Coast business is shortening its work week

BETTER BALANCE: Broc and Stacey Cattley are cutting trialling a four-day work-week at their Beerwah business.
BETTER BALANCE: Broc and Stacey Cattley are cutting trialling a four-day work-week at their Beerwah business. John McCutcheon

THE four-day week is something most Monday-to-Friday workers can only dream of, but one Sunshine Coast business has just made it a reality.

Beerwah business Outback Touring Solutions this week started a four-month trial.

Stacey Cattley and her husband Broc hope the move will improve the work-life balance for themselves and their staff, while benefiting their business and actually increasing the hours the business is open.

Ms Cattley said the crew had just finished week-one under the new system, and the general feeling from staff so far was positive.

"I can say for my hubby, Broc, trying to get him to do a four-day week ... I think having that mindset to change may be a bit of a challenge for him," she said.

"But after having Monday off he seems to have it all under control again, and he was able to spend more time with the kids."

Leading Hand Darren Askin said it was the first time in his working life he had the opportunity to reduce his working hours.

"It'll be good, I'll get to spend more time with my family," he said.

And being a fan of camping and fishing, he was looking forward to spending some of his longer weekends getting out and relaxing.


Outback Touring Solutions will try out the shorter week for about four months. Stacey Cattley hopes it will give their staff a better work-life balance and improve the business.
Outback Touring Solutions will try out the shorter week for about four months. Stacey Cattley hopes it will give their staff a better work-life balance and improve the business. John McCutcheon

Ms Cattley said the change was prompted by hearing about similar moves in European countries, and when one staff member asked to reduce their working week, the plan came to the forefront.

Instead of working eight hours Monday-Thursday and six hours on Friday, the business' four fully-qualified tradies will work four days each week on a rotating roster, which will also allow the business to stay open longer on a Friday instead of closing at 1pm, which Ms Cattley hoped would be a benefit for their customers too.

Two apprentices will continue their five-day week in order to meet their education commitments.

Ms Cattley said the four-day-a-week work trial would be reviewed about the end of the financial year, to make the staff are still happy, and the system is working.

"We've got to be able to make sure we can get the same, if not more, work out, and also financially we need to make sure that it's viable for us," she said.

"We do really hope it works.

"We want to try and provide a really great work space where people love coming to work and we want to look after our staff and they'll look after our customers."

Topics:  business employment four day week outback touring solutions work-life balance

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