Back in January, we announced to the team (and to everyone else) that we were going to be trialling a four-day work week at Work Wales. We’ve been trailing a shorter week over the past six months and wanted to share how things have been going.
With many UK businesses now involved in a four-day work week trial, we’ll be interested to see what the research shows when the trial ends in November. When we began our trial in January, we were unaware that the UK was going to pilot this – you could say we’re trailblazers! We decided to try it back in 2021 and were even featured on ITV Wales News!
A study published in 2019 by Henley Business School showed that of the 500 business leaders and 2000 employees surveyed, 64% of employers reported an increase in productivity. The study also showed that 70% of staff were less stressed and that businesses were able to attract and retain talented staff.
As we mentioned in our initial blog, we wanted to implement a four-day work week to give our staff a better work-life balance. We also said we’d be open about our experiences, so who better to tell you about the experience than the Work Wales team!
The Four-Day Work Week at Work Wales
Despite adapting to a four-day working week model, our business is still covered five days a week. Everyone has a set day off based on what makes the most sense for their desks, roles, and the needs of the business. Our team has had their working week reduced by one day and there’s been no reduction in pay or holidays.
“For many years, both Sophie and I have worked around the clock, during our pregnancies, and after our children were born. We continued to work 5-day weeks; we didn’t know any different and we were both the same so didn’t see any harm in working so many hours.
We started the business from scratch and wouldn’t be where we are today with that input. Fast forward many years and we have a strong, trusted, valuable team and we can offer them more of a work-life balance.
The research, along with our own findings, is that it has massively increased employee satisfaction, teamwork and our team’s commitment to the company, tasks, and each other.
In fact, sales have increased! We have had record months on the perm division, and our service and delivery has not been affected. Our clients are fully supportive of our new working week model, which has reflected well on our company. The feedback from the team is that they feel more productive, more refreshed, focused, and overall, happier in their job. It’s a win-win for us and the 4-day week is here to stay!” – Christina Allen
Our Initial Thoughts
The pandemic did a lot to change the way we work, and it certainly shifted perspectives for so many people. We wanted to make a change to benefit our team’s health and wellbeing. As an early adopter of this new way of working, we’ve certainly seen the benefits in the past few months.
“We have worked literally around the clock to get the business off the ground to where it is today. Anyone setting up a business in those early stages with a passion to succeed knows it's what is needed to make it happen. Tenacity, grit, determination, and an unrivalled self-belief in not just ourselves, but each other. We worked! We believed! We delivered! but most importantly, we never gave up!
For both of us, there was a clear lightbulb moment where we knew we needed to make changes. Like most businesses, the pandemic and numerous lockdowns gave people the time to step back and reflect. We were in the thick of it; six children between us and working around the clock to keep the business moving to ensure our survival post-pandemic. To say it was hard is an understatement, and as a result, we welcomed Ryan to our work family and can quite honestly say he is an absolute diamond.
Decisions like opting for a 4-day work week have been made so much easier under Ryan’s leadership. I can honestly say that we feel so proud, not just as business owners, but as individuals, that we can give back to the team in this way. Every single team member has been invaluable in making this process seamless. They each share our values and passion for the business to be a success, and so seeing the difference it makes to them having that extra day to themselves really does make us smile.
Christina and I are making a difference and will continue to do so, and we will always be advocates when it comes to our team’s health and wellbeing.” - Sophie Benyamin
What the Team Think
There’s no better way to explain the experience than to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth! Here’s what our team think of the changes.
Ryan Jones – Business Manager
For me personally, it’s the small things that the 4-day week has enabled me to do that make the biggest impact, like doing the school run and having some quality one-on-one time with my children. I’ve also been able to do some reading during my day off, something I’ve not been able to find the time for since my children came along (14 years ago!)
I’ve also found that the fatigue that usually creeps in as the school holidays approach has gone, and rather than using my annual leave as a time to rest and recharge, I’m now using it to engage, explore and experience new things with my family.
Scott Johnston – Contracts Manager
The four-day working week is going well! The extra day off is helping with recharging the batteries and means my annual leave requests have decreased (that is not an invitation to cut my holiday entitlement!). In relation to the working week, it really helps with time management and focusing on the right areas for my workload. You need to be strict and efficient with your time to get the best results.
Adam Jones – Recruitment Consultant
I have always worked 5-7 days per week in the recruitment industry, and I honestly felt burnt out at times. Since I started working at Work Wales, they introduced the 4-day working week in January this year and I honestly feel much more productive. I believe that just by having that one extra day off per week gives me more time to think of ideas on how to grow my desk.
I feel more proactive and refreshed, and highly agree with the 4-day working week. Also, being a dad of two, this gives me a lot more time to spend with my children and watch them grow, which is priceless. I also get more time to see friends and family which I didn’t have the time for before.
I can also get on with jobs at home, which I’d usually put off until the weekend as I’d be off. The weekend would then arrive, and I’d still be working or be too tired to do them, so on my day off, I get a lot more done at home too (which is always a bonus!).
Sarah Bastin - Perms Recruitment Consultant
The 4-day work week has been incredible. I’m a huge fan of being outdoors with my beagle Bertie and equally getting pampered (lashes, nails, etc!). Having the 4-day work week allows time out for self-care, whether it’s a yoga class, beach walk or a manicure. It really does help reset your mind and ensures you give it everything for the remaining 4 days.
Some days you’ll take calls and meetings on your day off, however, the flexibility really does offer a better work-life balance. I certainly feel more focused and determined having that midweek reset. It feels great to work for a company that genuinely puts staff wellbeing first.
Aleksandra Zadroga - Recruitment & Compliance Officer
I believe the 4-day work week is the future of work! It allows me to do my absolute best for Work Wales, but also find the time for continuing professional development and seeing my friends and family. I feel incredibly lucky to work for such a forward-thinking company!
Kim Simpson – Perms Recruitment Consultant
My enjoyment levels are greatly increased both at work and at home. This balanced structure encourages a work hard, play hard culture, giving time to do more at home and creating a stronger focus towards achieving goals, responsibilities and productivity at work.
Never has the saying ‘It’s not the hours you put into your work, but the work you put into your hours’ been more applicable. Since starting the 4-day week, I have had my two best quarters since joining Work Wales and quarter two hasn’t even finished yet! A big thank you to Christina and Sophie for having the faith in our team to initially trial and then formalise our new working structure. We truly are the luckiest consultants in the whole of Wales.
As you can see, we have well and truly accepted the four-day week with open arms, and we’re flourishing! We will be posting further updates in the coming months, and we’ll be paying close attention to the trials going on throughout the UK. It’s safe to say that for us, it looks like the four-day work week is here to stay!