There's more to flexible work and living arrangements than working from home (WFH) one or two days a week.
For starters, modern technology has allowed humans to harness the power of date and time to our advantage.
We can do that by adopting Daylight Saving Time, a 4-day working week, and by de-regulating trading hours.
Daylight Saving Time
Western Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches and other landscapes in Western Australia.
But by the time that most people return home from work, there's almost no daylight left in the day to enjoy those landscapes.
Beyond providing more time for outdoor recreation, adopting Daylight Saving Time would also:
- Promote active lifestyles by providing more opportunities to run and exercise in the evenings;
- Boost retail sales by encouraging more people to shop after work; and
- Increase community safety by providing more visibility for pedestrians in the evenings.
4-day working week
The idea of an 'eight-hour-day' goes back to the 19th century movement for 'eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest'.
But back then, most of us were working in smelly and unsafe factories in the city. Since that time, a lot has changed.
The State Government should provide more flexibility to Western Australians, and:
- Carry out a trial of a 4-day working week by allowing public servants to work longer days in order to work fewer days per week;
- Lobby the Federal Government to amend industrial relations legislation to allow Australians to work up to 10 hours per days; and
- Require private companies to consider each request for flexible working arrangements, and to offer reasons for any rejections.
De-regulation of trading hours
Western Australia has some of the most restrictive trading hours in Australia.
Most other states allow shops to open from around 8:00 AM on Sundays, whereas in WA, it's 11:00 AM.
The State Government should ditch these archaic restrictions, and:
- De-regulate trading hours and allow businesses to open and close based on the needs and wants of consumers;
- Establish a 'red tape reduction task force' to identify opportunities to slash red tape for small businesses; and
- Recognise two additional public holidays - Diwali and Lunar New Year - to reflect the diversity of our state.
Restrictions on trading hours are a relic from a bygone era when we all went to church on Sundays, and they have no place in a modern Australia - Wilson Tucker MLC