The simple answer is yes. We had been supportive of the idea for some time, as studies show a four-day week boosts employee work-life balance and lowers burnout without sacrificing productivity, as well as challenging gender inequality and reducing carbon emissions. During the first lockdown, where everyone had to work from home, we proved not only that productivity could be maintained in a non-traditional remote working environment, but also that maintaining a good work-life balance is key to overall wellbeing, so, with most people home-based, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pilot a scheme.
In October 2020 we began a secret trial. All full-time employees reduced their days to four with Fridays off. Unlike many firms, that have introduced a four-day week but pay staff less and do less work, we paid staff the same and maintained the same level of output without any of our clients realising anything had changed: skeleton staff work on Fridays and have a different day off to provide cover.
Following the trial, 95% of staff said they were either equally (19%) or more (76%) efficient and productive doing their job in four days as opposed to five, while nine out of 10 said the reduced working week made a ‘significant difference’ to their job satisfaction and family life.
As a software as a service provider, we are all about increasing productivity using technology. Our solutions deliver business efficiencies and an improved customer experience, and it is this ethos that is the key to our successful move to a four-day week. We have reassessed the way we work, smartened our processes, and used technology to automate repetitive tasks in order to free up staff time. This has not only made us more productive, but it has created a much healthier working environment.
If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it is that we need to create a more sustainable way of working, one that improves business productivity, but with worker wellbeing at its core. By introducing a four-day week we have been able to improve work-life balance, strengthen families, and reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing productivity, and we would urge all businesses to consider it.
Dave Newick, CEO at Arken Legal