(Do the prep, just like we do for clients!)
- Pre-2020 already trialling various working initiatives - early Fri finish, hybrid - working, flexible start / finish times
- Truly believe that people are our number 1 asset. We’re a comms agency and talk about ‘valuing people’ - but I had the drive to demonstrate this by creating a really forward-thinking culture
- For a number of years, I was interested in the concept of a four-day week - but honestly:
- I wasn’t brave enough to do it.
- I was unsure how it would be received by others.
- I didn’t know how it would work.
- Then Covid changed everything
- With huge time savings due to remote working / no travel / and the huge change in working patterns, it was now or never
- I discussed this with the team and made it clear that it had to work for the business as well as us individually - we all agreed to push forward
- Pilot in Sept 2020 - adoption of 4 day in week in March 2021
- During this time, I also spoke to some other four-day week businesses in NI and another PR agency in England
HOW WAS IT RECEIVED BY CLIENTS
- Initially we didn’t tell anyone, it was business as usual - and no one noticed any difference.
- We only informed clients following the adoption of the four-day week.
- We have excellent client retention and have maintained this - we all understand the importance of client satisfaction so this remains a priority for everyone
HOW DO WE DO IT
- Mindset change - we all wanted this to work…so didn’t look for the problems but the opportunities and benefits
- Many of the changes, we discussed and adopted as a team.
- Reduction in team meetings, time block, forward-plan
- Introduced some new policies e.g., no meetings over one-hour, robust communication systems between teams.
- 2 team members on every client account to ensure client has access to a team member 5 days a week.
- Slightly longer days - 32 / 34 hours
- We have had several iterations - Initially everyone had different days off but to ensure proper break, it’s now 3 consecutive days so either Mondays or Fridays.
- But key is that it must work for the business so we can all benefit from this initiative but for us, we need everyone to be flexible on occasion e.g., if an event is on a certain day or a client can only meet on a given day
- We have worked through this, made changes and moulded our four-day week to work most efficiently for the agency and team.
- From working out holidays to ensuring part-time team members also benefit - it’s been a work in progress
- We offer the four-day week to everyone including new recruits so explaining the huge benefits but the flexibility that’s required to maintain this as the status quo
- It’s fast-paced - there’s no time for distractions - it’s in everyone’s benefit to be as productive as possible every day
- One of the biggest challenges has been for me.
- I’m very much a work in progress but I got some great advice from Maurece Hutchinson, MD of JMK solicitors, who have also adopted a four-day week. Maurece said the key is to diary in an activity/appointment outside of work on your day off - so that’s what I’ve done…
- Through focus, we’re so much more productive.
- initially we increased our client base and productivity with the same number of team members.
- As we grew our client base, we also built our team.
- We have increased our team size and also our client numbers significantly.
- We have really super staff retention - only two team members have departed in the past two years and both have been to relocate
- Recruitment - demand for roles within the agency has hugely increased - we have so many more candidates applying for roles and that’s a real sea change
- - For the team
- It’s so beneficial – really well rested.
- Get to enjoy life.
- Ironically take fewer ‘long holidays’
- There’s seldom any illness within the business.
- On most days, we’re a positive and happy bunch - that’s important for the energy that we give to client briefs and campaigns
****DON’T SWEAR RIKI****