News

Better work-life balance seems to be just a dream

A FOUR-DAY working week may be an impractical fantasy, but Gladstone residents are keen on the dream.

Leading doctor Professor John Ashton has come forth with the recommendation, citing significant health benefits.

For Gladstone workers, achieving anything other than a four-week-on, one-week-off roster would suffice.

Professor Ashton says the concept would have far-reaching effects, including reducing stress levels, an increase in productivity, improving mental health and reducing unemployment rates.

For industry workers in Gladstone, many working up to 72-hour weeks, the concept is one of idealism.

Linda O'Brien is just one of many who will only ever work a four-day week in her fantasies.

"I work nine days every fortnight," she said.

Andrew Ramsey, of the CFMEU, says a myriad of work-life balance concerns exist with industrial centres such as Gladstone, and in particular, Curtis Island.

"There are so many problems going on at Curtis Island because of the lack of work life balance," he said.

"Families are breaking up, there are problems with suicide, many can't do their weekly sport on Sunday or practice their religion on the weekend."

Mr Ramsey said dissent from all levels could be anticipated if changes were to take place.

"The bosses would hate it, the developers would hate it," he said.

"To be fair some of our members would probably hate it too because they'd miss out on overtime."

John Martin from the Queensland Council of Unions backed the reduction of extended working weeks.

"What this doctor is saying is absolutely correct," he said. "But unfortunately, the people don't count in big business, just the economy."

Gladstone local Courtney Hjortshoj said the cost of living was too high to expect the recommendation to ever be viable.

"The way this town runs, it will never happen," she said.

From a local medical perspective, Dr John Bird agreed that achieving a balance between work and home was beneficial to physical and emotional well-being.

Topics:  employment, unions, work life balance



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