Why we jumped headfirst into the four day work week - Bright - A design agency for nonprofits

Why we jumped headfirst into the four day work week

May 2022

Written by Charlotte Davies, Project Manager at Bright

‘I only work a four day week’
‘My working days are Tuesday through Friday’
‘Sorry, I don’t work on a Monday!’

Are these not the sweetest seven word sentences you’ve read? For many people a four-day job (and a three-day break) is a reality, and with the world’s biggest pilot kicking off in the UK this past few days we felt it an apt time to let you know why we also facilitate and promote the shorter working week.

Work-life balance is important to us and we wanted to align our business operations with this value. But how could we implement such a big change without compromising on our capacity and ultimately our integrity?

We researched, we discussed and we tested. We initially trialled a Tuesday to Friday working week in late 2020 where our office hours stayed at 9am to 5pm and team wages remained the same. And we loved it.

We saw an increase in productivity and everyone enjoyed making the most of their Monday off. We had teething issues at times but it forced us to revisit systems and processes and ensure that our communication with clients improved rather than came at the expense of the change.

In 2021 we introduced the approach permanently and we haven’t looked back.

So what did we learn?

A happy workplace is a happy home place.

In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime (Beyond Blue). With this in mind, we wanted to create a working environment that promotes longer rest periods and space for the team to look after themselves. That means a day to make appointments, to grab a coffee with a friend or family member, to get outside or exercise; doing whatever it takes to ensure the batteries are well and truly charged before coming back to work.

It’s better for our environment.

Working one day less per week also has some positive effects on our environment. We checked out some research from Greenpeace, which suggested that four-day work weeks mean that computers and machinery last longer, stationary and uniforms don’t need replacing as often and less people are commuting to work. All of this means less production of these goods and services using carbon-intensive technologies and natural resources.

People are more productive.

One of the most used research pieces on productivity was this one conducted by Microsoft Japan. A whopping 40% increase in productivity? We’re here for it. It makes sense that employees that are better rested produce innovative work.

Whilst it might not be for every organisation, the four-day work week has been great for us here at Bright. We feel that we live with purpose when we work with purpose. We’re as passionate as ever about the projects we partner on and most importantly, we’re getting the work done.

We’d love to hear from you with any questions (or feedback) you might have on our approach. Have a great (three-day) weekend!

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