We first got in touch with Gareth Hoyle, Managing Director at Altrincham firm Marketing Signals back in May when it signed up for the four-day week UK pilot involving thousands of workers.
Now the trial has come to an end – with results due this year – he tells us that the shift has improved productivity, reduced sickness and transformed the lives of his employees – particularly of a young dad who has saved over £800 a month on childcare and was the main catalyst for the move.
The business has since made the move permanent for all full time employees, who now work 32 contracted hours a week instead of 37.5 hours with no loss in pay.
The business split its team into two groups so every weekday is covered and each team gets a four-day weekend twice a month.
Here he shares the reason behind the decision, what challenges he faced and the difference it has made to working life.
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Why we made the change Having already offered our team flexi-time and remote working, the change for us was a natural progression and fitted in with our ethos of promoting a strong work/life balance.
There were several reasons behind the move including a desire for higher productivity, a wish to help team members with the rising cost of living plus a general goal of further assisting employee well-being.
In addition, we believed the change would enhance our appeal to prospective employees as well as helping retain the team we already had.
READ MORE: Four-day week: ‘You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to five days’
Quality not quantity Sometimes less is more, and this is certainly true for a four-day week. Less days does not mean less output, quite the contrary, in fact.
This new model of work focuses on quality rather than quantity , and revolutionises the future of work.
We already measured our teams based on output not attendance, meaning it’s incumbent on team members to produce results rather than to demonstrate how many hours they spent working on something.
The pitfalls A four-day-week obviously wouldn’t work for all businesses but we do believe that where output can be clearly measured and managed, it is possible across many roles.
However, there are many challenges that may stop a business switching to a four-day working week. The main three challenges are:
A fear of the unknown – “we’ve always done it this way” is something many business owners may be thinking. However, by embracing the change and challenge, many should soon discover new and innovative ways to tackle the hurdles they are facing. A lack of trust in the staff and processes – If you hired someone to do a job, and you know the expected output is reasonable, why not trust them to run a bit quicker, find some efficiencies and free up some of their time to enjoy life outside of the working environment? Worrying about what clients would think – This should be the least of the worries but we do understand why it exists. If you are measuring and managing the right data points and outputs, your customers should never even know you are working a four day week as the output to them should remain unchanged. However, you may need to juggle your operations teams to ensure five days coverage, as we have done by splitting our team into two. The plus side A good work/life balance is the key to a happy and healthy workforce, which leads to loyalty – ultimately helping our business grow. It also makes our company more attractive for potential future superstars, as people applying for jobs here have mentioned that the four-day week specifically attracted them to the role.
Four-day week – businesses tell us how it’s working out and what they’ve learned about the work-life balance Removing dates from CVs can help working mothers mind the employment gap, new research shows How to do the four-day week, legal questions and tips for getting started The rise of the four-day week and how to make it work Expert advice on the ‘four-day week’ conversation Would you try a four-day week or if you have, does it work for you? Let us know in the comments below.
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