Benefits to your company of a four-day work week
KEEN business eyes will have seen a lot of international and UK coverage on the four-day work week over the last year.
And closer to home, one Belfast design agency discovered that the new working concept brought tangible benefits to both staff and clients.
A family owned local design studio founded in 2000, Whitenoise offers brand development, advertising, video, animation and digital services to its local and international client base.
Like many local businesses, we emerged from the Covid pandemic having learnt new ways of working, increasing its effectiveness both internally and in its service offering to clients.
This, together with some substantial new client acquisitions (one of which became their largest client overnight, triggering them to take on five new staff), taught them a lot about effective time management and the need for a closer focus on work-life balance and mental health.
Having become aware of growing international interest in the concept of the four-day work week, the concept piqued the interest of the company directors, who believed it could be a working pattern suited to the business, its client mix and staff.
With the understanding that we needed to continue to offer an uninterrupted continuity of service across the normal working week, we divided our staff into two equally balanced teams, with a Monday-Thursday and Tuesday-Friday work split.
Continuity and hand-over on complex projects are an essential. As the entire team is in and working together for the majority of the week, Tuesday to Thursday, hand-off of projects hasn't proven to be the big issue that we thought it might be - we clearly communicated to our clients what we were doing and why, and our teams supported that on a day to day basis.
Completely separate to the formal, UK-wide trial, (https://www.4dayweek.co.uk/pilot-programme) Whitenoise independently trialled this four day week pattern throughout the entirety of 2022, allowing them to track how the teams coped and clients responded throughout the seasonal ebb and flow of workloads coming in to the studio.
Across our self-set yardsticks of staff wellbeing, client satisfaction, studio productivity and business profitability, it was a great success, so we announced to staff and clients that as of January 2023 this is our ’new normal'.
Working in an industry that is very much measured by both creativity as well as consistent delivery, teams across the business found that the longer, three day weekend energised them and resulted in better focus and energy levels.
As a committed four-day week business, we’re proud to say all current and future staff benefit financially and in terms of work-life balance from our change to a four day working week.
With 100 per cent of salary for 80 per cent of traditional working hours, we are already seeing the benefits of this in terms of staff satisfaction and retention, as well as recruitment in an increasingly competitive hiring environment.
:: Mark Case is founding director of Whitenoise Design Ltd (www.whitenoisestudios.com), a family-owned, multi-award winning agency committed to transforming brands and businesses through compelling visual experiences spanning all platforms and channels.