The legal profession, often characterised by grueling work hours and a culture of burnout, could benefit from a significant paradigm shift: the adoption of a four-day work week. Amid discussions about workplace sustainability and mental health, Stefanie Costi has offered a fresh perspective on how lawyers might enhance their practice and overall wellbeing.
Costi shared a candid personal anecdote about her Australia Day revelation that illustrated the overlooked value of rest. “Australia Day, a day off for many, became my eureka moment,” she affirmed, conceptualizing the four-day work week not as a call for indolence, but as a strategic embrace of recuperation to heighten productivity.
Emphasizing the importance of work-life balance, Costi questioned why the legal community perpetuates an unsustainable pace of work. She posits that an extra day of rest each week could yield a host of benefits, both professionally and personally.
Costi’s proposition challenges the entrenched notion that long hours equate to greater achievement, instead suggesting that a more focused, well-rested lawyer might outperform a tired counterpart. “A focused, well-rested lawyer can accomplish in four days what might take a sleep-deprived one five,” she argued.
The idea counters traditional views that lawyers must remain tethered to their desks to fulfill their professional obligations. Instead, Costi paints a picture of a legal force rejuvenated by additional rest, invigorated to tackle cases with newfound zeal.
Costi’s call to action is not merely a critique of current practices but a forward-looking approach to reimagining the legal profession. She invites her peers to reassess their work structures and consider the holistic benefits of a shortened work week. As Costi aptly quoted the character Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This sentiment encapsulates the core of her message: the pursuit of a more balanced, sustainable approach to legal work could be the key to unlocking a brighter future for the profession.
Stefanie Costi is a lawyer who empowers victims of workplace bullying to take decisive action and educates organisations about its impact and preventive measures. Through her advocacy, Stefanie strives to create healthier and more respectful work environments where everyone can thrive without fear. You can find her here.