It’s been just over a year since we announced Serps Invaders being the first agency in Scotland to introduce an official 4-day week. Last week I saw this article discussing the 4-day week on the Social media Week blog and I thought it might be time to reflect on the past year. We discussed the opportunity internally but didn’t really need to think about it too long! Since 1st September 2013 we have now officially traded as a 4-day agency, operating Monday to Thursday from 7.30am until 7pm every day.
Compressing the 37.5 hour week, means that usually there isn’t much need for any overtime, as it is the norm during tight deadline periods in busy agencies, as everyone is in the office for 9.5 hours per day. All staff have the option to work flexible working hours, which means, the “early birds” start at 7.30am, whereas our “night owls” prefer to start around 9am.
But what about your clients?
When we initially spoke to our clients about trialling the 4-day week, we didn’t expect the positive reactions that we got across the board. No-one objected to the idea and the majority of clients were tempted to suggest the 4 day week in their own companies.
What about client emergencies?
All clients know that one member of staff is on call in case of emergencies. During the full year, we had only one request very late on Thursday when everyone had left the office and once on a Friday. Both of them we dealt with on the Friday morning swiftly and without disrupting anyone’s day off too much.
Were there any issues working longer hours?
I’ve regularly checked in with all staff members on a weekly, then monthly basis to find out how they were coping with the new longer almost 10 hour work days. Everyone opted to only take a 30 minute lunch break which I wasn’t initially happy with but it seems to work for everyone. I believe the first few weeks were a bit tough but having the 3 day weekend quickly helped everyone get into the swing of things. Some staff also mentioned that coming home late from work made it a bit more difficult preparing bigger meals in the evening.
What do staff think about the 3 day weekend?
I’ve asked everyone what their getting up to on their long weekend, every weekend…
Here are some of the top items that Serps staff love about the 4 day week:
They have the opportunity to
- travel more
- read more
- spend time on crafts and other hobbies
- do more sports
- do their weekly shopping and other chores on Friday when all shops are quiet as everyone else is at work
- are able to still work full-time as a parent, whilst spending plenty of time with their kids, taking them to extracurricular activities and get involved with their school life
- properly switch off and relax, it feels like a much better work-life balance
- do their housework on Fridays and have the rest of the weekend to enjoy
Overall they all confirmed that they feel less stressed and have more energy and the fact that there is rarely the need for any overtime.
One thing I am especially proud of is that one member of staff has finally found the time to run and is planning on taking on her first 10k in the next few months!
What were the benefits as an employer?
Staff are much more relaxed, motivated and even happy to be back at work. Over the course of the week I didn’t notice performance fluctuations as much as before. Staff performance is more constant. In general I feel the motivation and productivity level is much higher since we introduced the 4 day week. Staff also often schedule doctors’ appointments and anything else they need to sort out on Fridays, so there isn’t really as much disruption from that perspective. Staff also find time to take on freelance projects that they work on at the weekend. I support this as often this gives them an opportunity to gain experience in sectors that we don’t usually work in, which I am as an employer also benefit from. Staff retention was higher and we’ve been able to attract talent that we might not have got as a smaller agency. I still work on Fridays and love the peace and quiet I get to do proper thinking time without getting interrupted by clients or employees.
Here’s to another productive, less stressful and happy year!
Are you an agency owner who wants to try out the 4 day week but isn’t sure how best to go about it? Or are you working at an agency and you want to persuade your boss? Why not get in touch with me and I am happy to give you some pointers as to how best go about it.
This article was first published on my personal blog, where I blog about business, digital marketing, career advice and productivity.