Work less, achieve more…

Work less, achieve more…

In April of this year Mackie Myers started their trial of the four day working week. We caught up with Co-Founders Owen and Jenna, to get their thoughts on how it went…

Why did you implement the trial?
There were a few factors to our decision, one of which being our growing frustration with the five day week in the professional world whereby Fridays are significantly less productive. Mackie Myers is a forward-thinking business, constantly trying to challenge the status quo, so trialling a four day working week felt fitting. It has received growing attention in the media, and we were really keen to explore it. As a start-up business we felt we were in a good position to do a six month trial and get feedback from our employees directly. Lastly, we saw the trial as an opportunity to support talent acquisition for the business. Giving people the opportunity to create a better work life balance, without having to sacrifice their pay. Overall we are constantly striving for chances to improve our productivity and utilisation of our resources, and trialling the four day working week felt like the right thing to do.

How did it go?
Initially, we found it hard. We started the trial in April when there were a large number of bank holidays so it felt like quite a lot of time ‘not working’. After a few weeks we quickly flipped our approach and formed a policy document, framing the practicalities of how it would work for the remainder of the trial to fit the business and our priorities. The feedback we received internally has been really positive, and makes for a great talking point with clients and candidates. The growth trajectory that was predicted has been exceeded, and we are beating all our expectations in terms of productivity. In relation to our talent acquisition and relationships with clients and candidates, we are yet to find a downside.

What do you believe were the main benefits to come from the trial?
The benefits of the trial have been endless. The main feedback from our Partners – Hattie and Olly – have been around the improvement of their overall wellbeing. Olly has described himself as feeling mentally healthier, more productive and generally having a more enjoyable work life balance. Everyone in the office has commented on how much better they have been sleeping, an interesting benefit that we weren’t expecting. In addition to this, productivity across the business has increased. We have generated record numbers in terms of job flow and placements. By all measures, productivity Monday to Thursday has increased.

What have you learnt from the trial?
One key thing we have found from this trial is not to start it in April! The amount of bank holidays around Easter skewed our initial idea of what the trial was going to be like. However, as it turns out, it was just bad timing. We have also found it to be helpful to tailor expectations on what that fifth day is in order to manage commercial priorities and ensure that customer experience does not suffer. This aspect will always be industry specific but we have found setting clear expectations around goals both as a business and for individuals has ensured consistency in outcomes. Establishing expectations in a ‘policy doc’ was extremely beneficial and is a great place to start define how and why you might be doing something like this.

What are the outcomes to your trial?
We have made the four day week a permanent feature at Mackie Myers! Although, we will continue to review progress bi-annually. Not only did we exceed all of our growth targets, productivity has increased and people are happier for it. As a growing business anything we can do to contribute towards that growth is crucial, and it seems that the four day working week has achieved just that.

So, in summary…
The five day working week has been the norm since the industrial revolution. Now, over 200 years later, we think change is well overdue. Although it took a while to get our heads around it, the benefits have been well worth it. Our four day week has not only improved everyone’s health and wellbeing, it has also create the opportunity to promote better equality in the workplace. Our thinking is that if we can do things quicker, and in a more productive way, why wouldn’t we?

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