Integrated marketing agency, The Walk, has moved to a four day week in a bid to become a more sustainable workplace where efficiency, productivity and quality output are valued above hours at a desk. Part of a global movement, and with guidance from not-for-profit organisation, 4 Day Week Global, co-Founders Nick Cantor and Jo Edwards made the change at the beginning of August, 2022, with eligible staff able to opt-in to the program.
We’re on a mission to build the best agency we can…
Nick Cantor, Co-founder & Digital Director
“We’re on a mission to build the best agency we can. Burnout culture is rife in marketing and advertising,” says Nick Cantor, “and aside from the negative impacts on people and their personal and professional lives, the quality of work suffers too when staff are worn out and overstretched. Research shows that having a team who is rested and motivated to achieve their best with the time they have at work leads to greater productivity and better outcomes for our clients.”
There is significant evidence from businesses around the world that shows a sharper focus on efficiency and a mindful approach to reducing time wastage can actually improve productivity, while reducing time at work. In August 2019, Microsoft Japan implemented a 4-day week and the results were impressive.
- 2,300 employees took part in the program
- Productivity jumped 40%
- Workers reported being happier and took a lot less time off
- 9 out of 10 employees said they preferred the shorter week
- The business saw other economic and environmental benefits, such as a 23% reduction in weekly electricity use
There are 22 organisations across Australia and New Zealand that are taking part in this 6-month pilot program, including a diverse range of businesses from the major capitals and regional centres. Research is being conducted concurrently by the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland and Boston College in the US, who are measuring the total outcomes from the program across not only business productivity and staff satisfaction metrics, but also environmental and sociological impacts. A much larger pilot involving more than 70,000 workers is simultaneously underway in the UK.
How does it work? The four day week is based on the 100-80-100 principle. That’s 100% remuneration, for 80% of the time, with 100% of the output.
“We are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our people,” says Jo Edwards, “Already we’ve seen that the personal benefits are enormous. Our weekly surveys show a significant increase in satisfaction, but more than that – everyone is turning up ready to bring everything they’ve got to earn the right to have a four day week. One of the most important factors is that we cannot accept a reduction in output or drop in quality, otherwise we can’t offer the opportunity anymore. And so people are thinking very carefully about where they can focus on the work that makes the difference, and where they can discard habits or processes that just waste time and money. ”
The Walk will be continuing the pilot until February 2023.