In the pursuit of happiness, many people have been turning to remote work as a way to increase their productivity and be able to do what they love. Thousands of employees have changed careers after companies re-opened offices because they had, unexpectedly, fallen in love with working from home.
To us, this was just too predictable! Being a remote agency from the word go, we've always worked from home, and we know it's a no-brainer.
The big question is, now that everyone seems to be going remote, what's the next lure for employees?
Answer: The 4-day workweek.
This option has already proven successful for digital agencies and government institutions across the globe whose employees are largely remote workers.
These companies have seen advances in company morale and profits because this policy change gives both agency owners and their staff the ability to enjoy themselves without sacrificing productivity or the company ethos.
So, we thought, why not give it a go?
1. To start, what is a four-day workweek?
It's pretty simple really.
You work 4 days a week and have a 3-day weekend.
A four-day workweek is a policy that allows employees to work only 4 days of the week, which adds one more day of rest than if they were working five weekday days each week.
And there are a few ways to go about implementing this; you don’t just suddenly have to allocate 52 additional days off per year as your 4-day workweek could be based on compressed hours - employees work the same number of hours a week, just split across 4 days instead of 5.
What’s more, 4-day workweeks could include any day of the week being the additional day off. But we think why not tag on an extra day to a Saturday and Sunday? Picture that rush of joy you feel when you reach a bank holiday weekend. Now imagine that every week!
More on implementing a 4-day workweek later...
2. Why remote digital agencies are moving to 4-day workweeks
Digital agencies have become increasingly aware of the benefits of remote working and are finding ways to implement new practices into their workforce to actively compete in an industry where remote workplaces are leading the way.
Remote environments suit creative teams well because they find it easier to be productive without the distractions of office space. As long as this focus on creativity continues to take priority, the 4-day workweek is just the logical next step.
Implementing a 4-day workweek is another way to stay one step ahead as digital agencies retain talent and remain competitive in the market. It provides an opportunity to attract more talented employees because the combined benefits of remote positions AND a 4-day workweek allow for a better work/life balance and an increase in productivity.
It's important to note, though, that it won't be long until everyone is turning their hand to a 4-day workweek just like they turned to remote working when Covid-19 hit! To truly reap its rewards, companies must get in early, otherwise, a shorter work week will just become 'the norm'.
3. The rise of remote working
One of the reasons why remote working is becoming popular is because employees have established a better work-life balance and companies have discovered that remote workers bring increased productivity without added costs.
Unfortunately, it took a global pandemic for many companies to realise this, but it's clear; no office distractions = increased productivity and no commuting = reduced traffic-induced stress levels and happier workers!
Despite many companies' skepticism, there has also been an increase in working hours with many employees logging on at 8am rather than 9am and working well past 5pm and into the evenings.
4. The logical next step - a 4-day workweek
With the addition of 1-2 working hours per day, companies can easily afford to give Fridays off without losing out...
Many digital agencies are moving towards a 4-day work week because remote working has led to employees becoming more productive. This is a company policy that has been successful for digital agencies largely made up of remote workers as it increases morale without decreasing profits!
In our industry, as long as deadlines are met, the days and hours of working don't particularly matter. Of course, there may be exceptions. There might be a Friday in a client's calendar that is super important, a website launch that can't be altered or an industry event, but exceptions can be made easily with days off being changed flexibly, given advanced notice to employees.
5. The benefits of a four day work week for employees and companies
The benefits of a four-day workweek for employees include:
- An opportunity to become more productive
- More happiness within the workplace
- Less stress
- Increased motivation
- Improved concentration in work hours
- Better work-life balance
Additionally, employees are generally happier on a four-day workweek because they can balance their time well between hobbies and work and have more time for things they enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, fitness and other activities.
This mindset has led employees to become happier which improves mental health.
“According to pilot studies, workers reported anywhere from a 25% to 40% increase in productivity, as well as an improved work/life balance, less need to take sick days, more time to spend with family and children, less money spent on childcare, and a more flexible working schedule which leads to better morale.” - Source
Having 3 days off per week allows for stress release which in turn leads to better concentration levels when in the 'office' each day, increasing overall efficiency. Employees spend more focused time on tasks that require concentration, like problem solving and creative endeavors.
6. How to implement a 4-day work week in your organisation
Companies can implement a 4-day workweek in various ways:
- Requiring all teams to take off one additional day of the week, dictating which day your organisation will close (usually, this is Friday)
- Increase working hours on the remaining 4 days of the week (compressed hours)
- Offer the choice of which day employees would like to have off (could be different for each staff member)
- Reduce working hours, too, so your workweek becomes shorter (e.g. a 32-hour workweek instead of 40)
If you’re a large enough organisation, this might be the sweet spot which means your business can still operate 5 days per week with a few people off on different days throughout the week.
Granted, the transition may be easier for remote businesses and digital marketing agencies, but it's not impossible for those who have premises. If you're not a remote company, then consider which day of the week you should close your office or location - for example, avoid days when you have a particularly high footfall.
You should also make sure that you have systems in place to facilitate a 4-day workweek; make sure you've got workers covered by providing them with all the tools needed for success, such as:
- Workplace management software - time tracking is important to ensure that staff still commit the same hours over 4 days as they would over 5
- An automation tool to manage tasks - this will save your employees time (and their sanity!) ensuring they can really make the most of their 4 days
- A team that's prepared to handle tech-related problems on a Friday, should they crop up - you might want to consider a rota system
Other than that, it's a case of trial and error, or trial and improvement! Test different options and monitor their success/failure rates before committing to a permanent 4-day workweek schedule.
At Beyond Agency, we're implementing a 4-day workweek once a month, for now, but we’re sure this will become the future of work! We're using the final week of every month as our testing ground - what's better than an extra-long weekend right around payday?
We're open to 4-day workweeks more regularly if they are a success, but you don't have to jump in feet first when it comes to a business transition. It can be a big change, not only for owners and employees but also clients, so consider it carefully before making any rash decisions!
It is not uncommon for digital agencies to implement a four-day workweek. Remote working has seen employees become more productive, the majority of employees are happier on four days as they have more time to do things that they enjoy and it's an easier way to attract talent.
The benefits are clear: increased company morale without sacrificing productivity or profits.
And there's no denying that if you're wanting to attract talent - top talent, in particular - then offering a 4-day workweek is definitely something you should consider.
You'll be surprised by how much more productive your employees become once they have one extra day to counterbalance working hours!