A four-day working week has transformed our business

Reducing hours without reducing pay has allowed PR Dispatch's staff to increase their productivity as well as boost morale and wellness

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At PR Dispatch, we recently transitioned to a four-day work week. We'd already been working half-days on Fridays since 2018, but, the workplace has evolved even further since then.

The pandemic made it evident that the traditional 9-5 schedule may no longer suit our needs. With PR Dispatch embracing remote and flexible work policies, I decided to join numerous other businesses in conducting an internal trial of the four-day work week – reducing hours, without reducing pay.

We all know that happy employees contribute to more productive days, and at PR Dispatch, this translates to having happier members – confirming findings from the Startups.co.uk four-day working week attitudes survey. Now, every Friday, the team and myself dedicate to pursuing personal interests, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or simply enjoying some screen-free relaxation.

Having reached the six-month mark, here are some of the benefits we have discovered so far:

Improved work-life balance

The most apparent advantage is the improvement in work-life balance. I strongly believe that a fulfilling personal life reflects positively on our work life. A significant trial of the four-day work week revealed that participants were 71% less likely to experience burnout.

With an extra day off each week, I now have more time to recharge, spend quality moments with my family, and engage in neglected hobbies.

This time leaves me feeling more relaxed and refreshed when I return to work on Mondays. The result is increased productivity and focus, thanks to a better work-life balance.

Increased productivity

Back in 2019, Microsoft conducted a trial of the four-day work week and reported a nearly 40% increase in productivity. Surprisingly, even though I technically work fewer hours each week, I've experienced a boost in productivity.

On the four days that I am working, I feel more motivated to stay focused and efficient. When I have more time available, my brain tricks me into being less disciplined, leading to distractions like aimless scrolling on Instagram or procrastination.

By Thursday evenings, I've realised that I'm crossing off more tasks on my to-do list

However, since adopting the four-day work week, I've found that I accomplish the same, if not more, work.

By Thursday evenings, I've realised that I'm crossing off more tasks on my to-do list, thanks to increased focus. I've observed an overall increase in productivity among the team, which has positively impacted PR Dispatch's output.

Better morale and motivation

Implementing this new way of working has instilled a sense of happiness and relaxation among the whole team. As a result, our work environment has become more positive and collaborative.

Previously, our workdays extended beyond 6pm, as the team and I would put in extra hours to complete tasks. It's easy to believe a move to a four-day working week could extend these days further – as 70% of respondents to Startups.co.uk's survey feared.

The compressed work week has improved our boundaries, resulting in earlier finishes

However, the compressed work week has improved our boundaries, resulting in earlier finishes as well as an extra day off.

The team has expressed that the additional time off allows them to recharge, leading to heightened motivation and creativity during work hours.

Increased wellness

A comprehensive trial of the four-day work week revealed that employees experienced reduced stress levels, improved sleep quality, and better balance between work and personal responsibilities.

Moreover, sick days taken during the study decreased significantly by approximately two-thirds. Since adopting this model, I've noticed a marked improvement in my own well-being.

I enter the next working week feeling completely refreshed

I now have more time for myself, enabling me to prioritise self-care and relaxation. By simply closing my laptop and dedicating a day to personal admin or getting some fresh air, I enter the next working week feeling completely refreshed.

Strengthened initiatives

Lastly, the four-day work week has fostered increased initiative within the team. Motivation to generate innovative ideas has surged, and I personally find that I come up with my best ideas when well-rested.

Plus, this new working structure has forced me to streamline my workflow, prioritise tasks more efficiently, and carefully consider what truly needs to be done, delegated, or outsourced.

Overall, I believe that reevaluating the traditional 9-5, five-day workweek and exploring creative alternatives like the four-day work week is a great way for businesses to evolve post-pandemic. It cultivates a happier and more productive workforce, benefiting both myself and my team.

More on this topic – UK companies that have introduced a four-day working week in 2023

Headshot of Rosie Davies-Smith, founder of PR Dispatch
Rosie Davies-Smith, Founder, PR Dispatch

Rosie is the founder of PR Dispatch, an affordable PR membership platform helping over 450 product-based e-commerce businesses to do their PR in-house. Members include startup founders that do it themselves, established brands that delegate their PR to their team and in-house marketing teams at larger e-com businesses

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