Weekend trips to Melbourne and school pick-ups are possible for employees of a city law firm closing early on Fridays to provide a better work-life balance.
For the next four months Warrnambool's Maddens Lawyers is trialling a 3.30pm Friday finish for its staff.
Legal assistant Melissa Molloy said the change would mean she could do the kinder and school pick-up for children Isabelle, 7, and Luca, 4.
"It gives me that half an hour buffer before I have to go and pick him up," Ms Molloy said. "It makes things a bit more relaxed on a Friday."
She said it also meant she could attend personal appointments and complete household tasks.
The family recently went to Melbourne for a weekend away, leaving on the Saturday but she said the new hours would mean they could now leave Friday after work. "It's definitely going to help us get away," she said.
General manager Liam Currer said the change recognised the value of its team spending more time with family and friends which would have a positive flow-on effect to their wellbeing and working life.
"Everybody's embraced it," Mr Currer said. "It's been really well accepted."
He said the move would allow staff to get to Melbourne in time for a Friday night dinner or an AFL game, including its team members who'd moved here from the city. It could also help to attract new staff and make work more enjoyable.
"You get an extra activity to do on the Friday night that you wouldn't ordinarily get to do, so it feels like the weekend is longer," he said. "Finishing that bit earlier on the Friday afternoon will allow people to get into the weekend a little bit sooner."
He said Maddens watched as larger businesses elsewhere transitioned to a four-day week and opted for the 3.30pm close for its "biggest impact on staff but with the smallest impact on the client service and business".
He said increased flexibility was a by-product of COVID and it had changed how the workforce operated.
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