This June, the world’s biggest pilot scheme for a four day working week will take place in the UK. The experiment will involve more than 3,000 workers at 60 companies, spanning a range of industries, and will run from June to December.
Four-day working week pilots have taken place in countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world: Some trials have condensed the five working days into four, meaning longer days but less of them. Meanwhile other trials have cut down employees’ hours while maintaining salaries to see how this affects productivity.
The trial taking place here in the UK will follow the latter model; attempting to see if staff receiving their full salary, but only working only 80% of their usual week, will be able to maintain full productivity.
Digital Marketing agencies are notorious for a work hard, play hard lifestyle. Long working hours but office perks and frequent socials: An approach that hardly lends itself to a four-day working week.
So it may comes as a surprise, to see a number of digital marketing agencies taking part in the four day working week pilot scheme:
But digital marketing is extremely competitive and right now it’s a candidate driven market. Agencies are now having to think outside of the box to attract and retain new talent. Perks like reduced working hours and unlimited holidays are becoming increasingly common.
In short, no. Earlier this year Scotland started a four day working week trial. Starting in January, this six month trial is still underway and set to finish next month in June, as this new UK trial begins. And so while this new four day working week pilot is not the first, it is the largest study to date worldwide.
And some successes have been seen at the company level. Recently Newcastle based digital marketing agency Evolved Search concluded their own six-month trial. Their study saw huge successes in work-life balance, personal well being, and increased job satisfaction.
The team at Evolved Search saw improvements in there personal lives:
As well as improvements or no loss of productivity in their work lives, despite the extra day off:
And all without any loss in productivity. Evolved Search (unsurprisingly) announced they would be making this switch permanent, reducing their contracted hours while maintaining salaries.
Head of Strategy & Performance, Martyn Addison, highlights how the four day working week pilot benefited the individual as well as the company.
“I couldn’t imagine going back to a 5 day week” was the sentiment from multiple Evolved Search employees. A four day work week would be an incentivising perk to attract the top talent from other digital marketing agencies, as well as to help retain existing employees.
After all, happier employees that feel valued by the company are less likely to leave. And higher employee retention rates mean less time and money spent on recruitment
Evolved Search is just one out of hundreds of digital marketing agencies in the UK, what’s stopping your agency from doing the same?
In even more recent news is Marketing Signals, who have announced the launch of their four day working week pilot scheme.
We spoke to Marketing Signals Managing Director, Gareth Hoyle, to find out why they decided to give a four day working week a try:
“What inspired me to give it a try is seeing how well the team adapted to working remotely and with more freedom to choose their hours.
Combined with our additional learnings around accurate time tracking and forecasting, it just made sense. Many of our team are working through tasks rather than being on call for customer service enquiries.”
Traditional thinking managers are focused on getting their teams back into the office after being forced into remote working. Meanwhile Gareth and his team are focused on what they learnt from the experience.
And while this is great news for employees, the minds at Marketing Signals have made sure that their clients haven’t been forgotten about.
“We spoke to the majority of our clientbase. All agreed that as long as the work is done on time and to the same quality, they were not concerned in the slightest when or where we work.
The key takeaway from both clients and managers is around measuring outcomes and targets rather than worrying about someone being online all day and inactive.”
While four day working weeks may just be a novelty for now, we can see more and more businesses testing the water and having impressive results. It’s something for hiring managers to strongly consider as the competition for talent only increases.
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