Whenever there’s a public holiday, everyone in Australia loses their minds.
Sadly though, these public holidays only come around every few months and for the majority of the year, we’re all slugging it out for five days…except for one Aussie company.
VERSA is a Melbourne media agency that creates ‘world-first experiences across voice, digital and mobile’.
They made the decision last year to switch to a four-day working week, every week and have noticed a massive change.
Managing Director Jonny Clow has told LADbible: “We literally close the office on a Wednesday which allows our team to fit in some life admin, family time, sport or sleep into their week rather than having to squash it all into the weekend.”
The company’s CEO, Kath Blackman, tested the four-day week in July last year and it absolutely took off.
Jonny continues: “After trying lots of flexible arrangements that didn’t work (people taking so many different days off that it became impossible to manage), [Kath] realised she could create a single day-off for everyone.
“Wednesday makes sense as it’s the middle of the week. Approaching a business like two small weeks creates a whole new model. Friday becomes a day of great industry in what can be seen a slack day where people have a long lunch or leave early.
“It went so well that one month turned into three which turned into six and eventually more than a year passed but it’s always a trial. We make it clear to people that if it stops working, we’ll stop doing it and that keeps people motivated to make it work.”
Jonny says they work on a trust based system instead of policing everyone’s hours.
He admits it took a while to get everyone in house and their clients adjusted to the move, but it’s made some serious waves in their revenue and job retention.
“Revenue alone was up 46 percent YOY and staff retention is up from 72 percent to 88 percent. Staff are happy and the company is thriving and we hope our case study will help other companies be brave enough to do the same,” Jonny tells us.
But don’t just take VERSA’s word for it, there are studies that show a four-day work week is widely beneficial.
According to some researchers at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), the poorest people in the United Kingdom could be 13 percent better off by the year 2030 if they adopt a four-day working week and agree to a higher minimum wage.
In addition to that a psychologist – from the Wharton School in Pennsylvania – has been arguing for a four-day week for decades. Professor Adam Grant believes people have been proven to work more effectively when their employers show they value the personal lives of employees.
He explained his argument at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this year.
According to the Metro, he said: “I think we have some good experiments showing that if you reduce work hours, people are able to focus their attention more effectively, they end up producing just as much, often with higher quality and creativity, and they are also more loyal to the organisations that are willing to give them the flexibility to care about their lives outside of work.”
Obviously this isn’t going to work for retail or service industries like pubs or restaurants, but it could be implemented in other areas.