Perhaps there’s no real need to ask if you’ve ever felt that a traditional 2-day weekend is just too short to recharge after a hard week at work.
Which is why those blessed three-day weekends are always important dates to mark on the calendar.
But if you thought that having regular three-day weekends is just a pipe dream, one company in Gloucester actually had the guts to make it a reality for its employees and reaped tremendous gains as a result.
Radioactive PR instituted a four-day work week during a trial period last year by operating only from Mondays to Thursdays. And according to owner Rich Leigh, the business has never been better as a result. And the surprising thing is, not only did the employees cheer for it but also the company’s clients, as well.
Leigh said: “From a business perspective it works fantastically and I’d definitely do it again.
“From a team perspective, literally every single person says they feel like they’ve got a better work-life balance and that they feel more relaxed when at home.”
Even though employees only work four days a week, they still receive the same salary they did when they were working the full five days a week.
The vacation leaves went down from 25 days to 20 days (plus birthdays and bank holidays) but considering that the extra weekend has effectively given more than 40 additional days off each year, it’s not a bad trade at all.
One more result of adopting the four-day week was that sick days were reduced by 75 percent.
He added: “I would say it’s conducive to a better working environment – not that anyone was particularly unhappy before, but I think we’re all just really on it now because it’s ours to lose.”
In the PR world, Fridays would be treated as the “reporting day” where teams send feedback to their clients about what happened during the week. But thanks to technology, Leigh’s employees are able to streamline a lot of these processes.
He explained: “We use a couple of tools now like Google Analytics and something called Coverage Book, which has really trimmed down a lot of the time that we spend reporting.
“It’s just massively helped.
“We also use WhatsApp groups for every single client, which is just immediate, it’s transparent – it lacks the unnecessary formality of email.
“It’s trimming time here, there and everywhere – with the reporting, with how we communicate to clients.”
Leigh added that his clients were also supportive of the change and they were assured that the team can respond to them on a Friday if there’s a need.
He continued: “[Clients] just need to know that they can pick up the phone and you can support them in a crisis as expected.
“They just needed to know that a) if they needed to contact us on a Friday they can, b) if any journalist request comes in, we’re on it.”
But Leigh was also realistic enough to admit that this model may not work for everyone.
“The key thing is that it wouldn’t necessarily work in every industry and for every business,” he said.
“If you know your business – and like I say it does come down to dull things like if you know your margins and you know that that time can be allocated elsewhere – why wouldn’t you consider it?
“But the fact is it’s not gonna work for everybody. I appreciate we’re in a fortunate position – and industry – to be able to try to do this.”
However, Leigh is not alone in praising the merits of a four-day work week.
The Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford did a study on the four-day work week and found that it could help improve employee happiness and productivity.
Over a six month period, researchers tracked the productivity and happiness of 5,000 call center workers. Each week, the workers scored their happiness on a scale of one-to-five.
Researchers found that four-day work weeks resulted in more positivity and lesser absences. Workers also became more productive as they increased sales, made more calls, and resulted in more customers being happy.
Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, associate professor of economics and strategy at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, said: “I would argue the four-day working week is spot on in terms of finding or striking that right balance between improving the work-life balance and unlocking the happiness potential from that in terms of productivity gains.
“Snuggle Delivery Relieves Workplace Stress With Puppies”