Grant Thornton to trial a 9-day working fortnight in 2023

03 January 2023 2 min. read
More news on

Joining a growing number of Australian businesses, Grant Thornton will this year trial a reduced working week, with staff to average nine working days per fortnight at full pay.

Professional services firm Grant Thornton is set to trial theworking fortnight across its Australian offices from March, with the potential to reduce hours even further should the six-month trial prove especially successful.

With staff to retain their full pay-packets, the firm hopes to see a range of health and well-being benefits, along with reduced sick days and increased productivity.

Grant Thornton to trial a 9-day working fortnight

“With so many of the professional services’ workforce reporting increased stress and health issues, we remain convinced the current system is broken,” said Grant Thornton CEO Greg Keith. “We will be bold in trying something different as we want a better outcome for our people and our clients. We see an irresistible opportunity to improve quality, client service and our people’s wellbeing.”

Grant Thornton’s offices will remain open full time during the trial to serve clients, with staff expected to average one less working day per fortnight over time, such that it might entail one full day off over two weeks or a half a day each week. During busy periods, a standard working week might be then balanced with four-day weeks in quieter times. The latter could also become the norm.

At the conclusion of the six-month trial, Grant Thornton will assess if its key performance indicators have been met over the period along with a range of other factors, at which stage the firm will consider permanently adopting the model. Should the trial prove ‘extremely’ successful, it may even test the waters of a 4-day week. However, the firm will also be keeping a close eye on client satisfaction.

“We will be closely engaging with clients throughout the trial to ensure the quality we deliver and their experience improves as expected,” Keith stated, having previously told the Australian Financial Review that the firm had already written to all of its clients. “To share with them the news and to explain to them that we see this as a trial to improve both client and people experience.”

The expectation is that with a refreshed and energised workforce – especially after what Keith describes as an exhausting past year – the reduced work hours will be seen in improved work quality, ultimately benefiting clients. Also “counterintuitive”, the firm posits that reducing work hours during an ongoing industry labour squeeze will in fact help it to attract and retain staff, thereby enhancing capacity.

While the firm’s competitors have been offering up a range of perks and rejigged working models since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Grant Thornton becomes the first large professional services firm in Australia to formally institute a shortened working week – although such measures have been gathering steam in other industries. Unilever is one notable recent addition, turning to a 4-day week.