Is the 4.5 day working week the perfect compromise?

 

Close-up image of female hands open or close laptop on white table, work-life balance, working from home

Written by Jane Hunt, PR expert, public speaker, and co-founder of JBH – The Digital PR Agency

The recent announcement of a six month pilot programme that will see a selection of participating UK companies trial a four day working week has unsurprisingly been making headlines and trending across social media platforms over the past week. 

And while the principle of the 100:80:100 model may seem extremely tempting to the millions hoping to shorten their working week without a reduction in pay, I truly believe that a 4.5 day working week offers the most accommodating and realistic compromise for both business owners and employees alike. 

It’s certainly been the perfect fit for my team here at JBH for the past 4 years.   

Long before the pandemic began, and when the concept of a four day working week was nothing but a fantasy for most, we decided to implement an agency-wide early finish on Friday as a perk that we knew would be well received across all 30+ full-time members of staff. 

I – along with my two business partners  – have years of agency experience from previous roles, and we knew only too well how unproductive Friday afternoons could be in a traditional setting. 

Many senior staff members are likely to clock off by 3pm anyway, so we thought, ‘why not give all our hard-working employees – as well as ourselves – the opportunity to take a longer break and relax over an extended weekend, then start the next week refreshed and raring to go?’

It’s not hard to see the benefits to our employees of a permanent 4.5 day working week. As well as being able to travel away for long weekends (and avoid the dreaded Friday evening motorway traffic), they can also use those extra 5 hours a week to focus on life admin before making the most of their weekends, enjoy more quality time with their families and young children, or even dedicate the time to pursuing their own hobbies, interests and passions outside of the agency. 

But don’t just take my word for it. 

Below are just a few comments I’ve gathered from different members of the JBH team explaining how the introduction of our 4.5 day week has benefited their work/life balance over the past four years: 

Tom “I love having half day Fridays to get ahead on life admin, catch up with friends and family and even spend some time to myself and some self care to end a busy week.”

Liam C  “Having the shorter day makes me more motivated to be more productive in the morning, meaning that I can enjoy my weekend properly (and much earlier too). Can make the 4pm bottomless brunches too!”

Lauren W“Our 4.5 day week gives me extra time to sort out ‘life admin’ e.g. food shopping/cleaning the house/ small DIY jobs etc…so I can relax and fully enjoy the weekend! Also gives me the chance to spend an extra half day with my 3 year old before she starts school later this year.”

Sam W– “I can book appointments outside of work hours, it makes the weekends feel longer, especially if I want to travel home to see my family or friends. I can also go to the gym before it gets really busy, and pamper for the weekend ahead a.k.a (get my fake tan sorted!)“

Meg: “I love Friday afternoons, because I have time to go home and spend extra time with family and friends, and I don’t have to use my annual leave to do so. It also allows me to relax a little bit more so I’m ready to hit the ground running on Monday.”

Laura“Finishing early on a Friday allows me more time to rest and recuperate over the weekend, helping me feel energized for Monday mornings.”

Tom “I love having half day Fridays to get ahead on life admin, catch up with friends and family and even spend some time to myself and some self care to end a busy week.”

Liam C  “Having the shorter day makes me more motivated to be more productive in the morning, meaning that I can enjoy my weekend properly (and much earlier too). Can make the 4pm bottomless brunches too!”

Lauren W“Our 4.5 day week gives me extra time to sort out ‘life admin’ e.g. food shopping/cleaning the house/ small DIY jobs etc…so I can relax and fully enjoy the weekend! Also gives me the chance to spend an extra half day with my 3 year old before she starts school later this year.”

Sam W– “I can book appointments outside of work hours, it makes the weekends feel longer, especially if I want to travel home to see my family or friends. I can also go to the gym before it gets really busy, and pamper for the weekend ahead a.k.a (get my fake tan sorted!)“

Meg: “I love Friday afternoons, because I have time to go home and spend extra time with family and friends, and I don’t have to use my annual leave to do so. It also allows me to relax a little bit more so I’m ready to hit the ground running on Monday.”

Laura“Finishing early on a Friday allows me more time to rest and recuperate over the weekend, helping me feel energized for Monday mornings.”

Far from compromising the output of the agency, we have in fact found that our half day Friday rule has hugely boosted the productivity, results, and the general mood levels of our staff. All are much more motivated to hit their deadlines and complete any outstanding tasks before clocking off on Friday lunchtimes, and ultimately are much happier in their roles knowing they have a guaranteed 2.5 day weekend, 52 weeks a year. 

We’ve certainly noticed that the lure of a 4.5 day working week has helped us to attract and secure better talent when we’ve been recruiting for roles, and as an agency we’ve also found that our clients are much more comfortable with the concept of a 4.5 day routine rather than not being able to contact us for an entire day every week. 

Ultimately, we are all too aware in the current climate of the importance of nurturing and supporting our employees’ mental health and general wellbeing, and we take our responsibilities in that area extremely seriously.

Too much focus on work and ‘the grind’ is detrimental to the majority of individuals, especially in an industry as creative as ours, so anything we can do to avoid burnout and negative workplace experiences among our ever-growing team is 100% worth it. 

Luckily the 4.5 day week seems to be doing just that!

Jane HuntAbout the author

Jane is a public speaker, PR expert and the co-founder of the award-winning, JBH – The Digital PR Agency in Manchester, UK. With over 10 years experience in content marketing and digital PR, Jane knows how to maximise team performance to consistently deliver results, even in challenging times.

One Tech World Ad Banner (1)

Related Posts

X