The organisation initially launched its new shorter schedule as a six-week trial last June, and made the arrangement permanent after positive staff and client feedback. The arrangement saw employees work 9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Thursday, with Fridays off work; this equates to a 31 hour working week over four days, compared to a 36 hour week over five days previously. Typically, employees are on-call on Fridays if an urgent situation arises; this is also applicable for evenings and weekends.
Staff are paid the same full-time salary they were employed on previously, with no reduction despite now working a shorter work week. Lunch breaks, however, have reduced to 45 minutes and holiday days have decreased from 25 days a year to 20 days a year, plus bank holidays and a day off for the employee’s birthday. Radioactive PR calculated that the four-day working week enables staff to receive an additional 44 days off work.
Rich Leigh, founder at Radioactive PR, said: “Happy staff doing great work with happy clients. It’s not the catchiest mission statement, but after four years, it’s an ethos that has served and continues to serve us very well. We’re building a real culture of trust in the team, at all levels, that they can manage their time to deliver the results clients want and expect. But ultimately, we’re trying to instill an emphasis on work-life balance that is tangible, that is felt every week, where automated and time-saving technology is embraced to improve our lives.”
A staff survey conducted in June 2019 asked employees ‘do you think you’ve enjoyed a better work-life balance since [the four-day working week] was implemented?’. On a scale where 0 is not at all and 10 is definitely, three-quarters of employees selected 10; the lowest score for this question was eight.
When staff were asked ‘do you think there has been a drop in communication with clients since the four-day work week began’, 100% of employees answered 0, not at all.
Sick days have also decreased as a result of the shorter working week. In the reporting period between June 2017 and June 2018, the organisation recorded on average 1.3 sick days per employee; this has reduced to 0.5 days per employee.
The four-day week has additionally impacted Radioactive PR’s bottom line, improving turnover by 70% between June 2017 to June 2018 and June 2018 to June 2019.
Leigh added: “I’ve long thought that overworking and unrealistic expectations on staff time runs counter to results. It feels good to know that for both current and future employees and their families, we’re offering something that isn’t some spurious work perk, but something that positively impacts their personal and professional lives.”