UK-based marketing company Reflect Digital has moved all employees to four-day working weeks as part of its plan to boost productivity and be mindful of mental health.
The company’s CEO Becky Simms told Yahoo Finance UK that she had looked at all the different options that would improve staff wellbeing and allow them to “produce even better work,” because as a digital marketing agency the job can be inherently stressful.
“Staff are constantly working hard and long hours to deliver on deadlines. Digital marketing is a high-pressure job. I thought, how can we break the norm and and create a better work environment,” she said.
“We looked at different options and even at flexible working. However, that wouldn’t work for us as our work is highly collaborative and working a whole host of different hours could make fulfilling projects difficult. So then came the idea of the four-day working week. I want staff to come in and have that Bank Holiday-feeling every week.”
As of 1 October, Reflect Digital’s 24 staff will still work a 37.5 hour week, just spread across 4 days. Staff will still get paid the same wage and the days they are allowed to take off are Monday or Friday, to make sure that the office is still operating on a five-day basis.
Reflect Digital is the latest in a line of companies that are breaking the mould for standard working practices and instead opting for new processes that have proven to improve productivity.
Ohio University highlighted how the typical “40-hour working week is not based on the ideal total hours humans can work productively.” It used an example of Sweden, where people work considerably less hours than their counterparts in countries such as the US and UK. The average worker clocks only about six hours a day, compared to the average minimum of eight hours a day. Ohio University said that the switch-up in hours resulted in a “marked reduction in absenteeism, [improved] worker health in addition to improved productivity.”
According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data, people in Germany actually have the shortest working hours compared with all OECD member countries. However, it also has one of the highest productivity levels and employees are 27% more productive than UK staff that work more hours per year.