On 9th June, when I saw this headline in Sky News it resonated with me as we just celebrated our three year anniversary of running the four day work week. It seems that others are joining us!
“‘Four-day week jobs rise by 90% as UK companies begin trial’
The report by job site CV-Library found that adverts for four-day week positions have jumped by around 90% – especially for work in sectors such as charities, sales, distribution and catering.”
I was so pleased to read this report as often when I talk to people about our four day work week they seem to react with, “Ooh that would be nice,” but until lately I hadn’t heard of many people taking up the idea and running with it. It’s weird, because I think that most entrepreneurs went into business in the first place because they wanted to live life on their terms and be more free to spend time with their families and friends.
And yet the report above contained the following excerpt, “Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College, and lead researcher on the pilot, said: “The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple dividend policy – helping employees, companies, and the climate.
Living to work, rather than working to live can threaten our home life, but I believe that there are things we can do at work to safeguard the most precious side of our lives and the people we care most about. The benefits will then filter down to anyone who works for us in our company as well as to their loved ones.
Being time poor is a very common complaint and with social media and the digitisation of workspaces we might find that work comes with us everywhere. Instant messaging in workplaces creates an expectation of being online and available all the time!
Our brand marketing agency Cre8ion relies on creativity, and in order to be creative you can’t be on the go all the time. I and my team members needed the head space to be able to tap into our creative side and hitting it hard, nine to five, Monday to Friday, left little space for that creativity to blossom. I decided to do something about it.
I believed that the four day work week was achievable but someone had to get the ball rolling and that person was me, as the CEO. When we started out on the journey it was me that had to take the plunge and work for less hours on the operations side of things to make time for strategic thinking and work on the business rather than in it.
I found that when I started to take a day out a week it marked the beginning of tighter organisation in our workflows. We tried different digital tools to organise our workflows so that people could get on and make decisions without me around, and learn to solve problems in advance of deadlines as I was not going to be around all the time to help them.
We adopted Teams as our chat system in order to be able to communicate more effectively and Asana as our task system. All our projects are now logged on Asana and allocated to team members with due dates. Tasks can be ticked off when completed and this means that there is an overview for everyone to see and we are more accountable to each other.
As time went on, the team started to become more resilient and were able to get on without me around telling them what to do all the time. Other team members were promoted to take on some of the management of people and tasks, and everyone shifted up to take on more responsibility.
It became clear that having the right tech in place had enabled me to leave my exec team to get on with it without me. The next step was to enable all of us to be able to step back and take the time to guard our creativity. So, we took the plunge and adopted the four day working model.
We now take every other Friday as an R&D day and the intervening Fridays are days off to spend however we want, with family or friends. We are all pretty much used to the fact that we have to work to a tighter schedule to work around the Fridays off.
Interestingly, the investment into technology that we had made to systemise our business had made us become more scalable. We took on new staff members and grew our videography department. We also improved our communications and instigated a daily accountability meeting to ensure that we were all focussed and on the same page.
You might be thinking, that’s all very good for you, but your systems and processes are different and we require someone to be there every day of the working week. Well, yes that might be true, but you can always rotate your staff working patterns to ensure that the office is always manned and allow you to switch up to a shorter work week. I promise you, if you find a way of implementing one you won’t have a problem with staff retention!
I think that the key to setting your people free in this way is an investment in technology. Our sister company, Di9ital, helps companies get the right tech in place to exchange bloated processes and wastage for speed and efficiency. This means that companies can put a stop to escalating costs and spiralling timelines to help establish them and future proof their business. Making your workflows and systems more efficient and transparent saves time which can be passed on to your staff as a time bonus!
Why not do a time audit and try to nail down where the pain point is in your business? Which of your systems or processes is taking the most time, and could it be automated? If you can locate a bottle neck, Di9ital can devise you a crafty piece of tech to solve the problem and put a large deposit in your ‘time bank’.
Equally, if your marketing needs updating, Cre8ion can build you a state of the art website with the right messaging to sell your products and services whilst you and your staff switch up to a shorter week!
Darrell Irwin’s Website is now live!
Darrell our CEO has launched his own personal brand and website. If you would like him to speak at your event, get in touch today. To visit the new site click the image below.