Trialling the 4 day week

How the 4-Day Week has improved well-being and productivity at Wildfire

Only a small number of companies in the UK have jumped on the 4-Day Week wagon so far – Wildfire is one of them, providing employees with an extra day off each week. Today, we will explain how that works and why we think it’s the way forward.

UK workers are putting in the longest hours in the EU, according to a TUC study. With an average of 42 hours a week in 2018, we work nearly two hours more than the EU average. Workers in Germany and Denmark, however, are more productive although they work fewer hours in total.

We all know that the marketing and advertising industry requires a lot of commitment from people. We often deal with short deadlines or last-minute requests from our clients. The pressure can take its toll and sometimes the work/life balance is out of kilter.

Our CEO Ivan found a solution to this issue: The 4-Day Week. We started trialling it in November last year. The 4-Day Week meant four longer working days where we could decide to work 8am-6pm, 9am-7pm, or 9.30-7.30pm and have an additional day-off on Monday or Friday.

We must admit that it took one or two weeks to get used to the new system. The first couple of days our coffee consumption grew rapidly, but we quickly adapted to earlier mornings. The first thing our early birds noticed was the commute to work! Starting the day on a rather empty train is much more comfortable and less stressful than squeezing through masses of commuters during rush hour! We found we had more time for meetings or last-minute requests, without the stress of having to leave to meet our friends or to make that weekly yoga class. Many of us used the extra day off to go Christmas shopping whilst everyone else was at work. It also meant that we had time to tackle our chores on Friday or Monday, leaving us with two full days of weekend bliss and the feeling of a bank holiday week, every week.

“The positive feedback after two weeks of trialling the 4-Day Week was immense!”, our Group Business Director Olivia remembers. “Our meetings were far more productive and it also meant that we had a higher availability for our clients, five days a week, from early morning to late evening.”

After two weeks of trialling the 4-Day Week, it was officially implemented on an opt-in basis to our work life and we wouldn’t want to go back! We think that flexible working is the way forward and that more companies should follow this path in order to compete in the future.