The entire world is buzzing about ways of working. We are preoccupied with remote and hybrid models, wondering whether these solutions will become our future. One company in the UK, however, decided to take the matter into its own hands and test a specific working model.

After the initial trial period and a lot of testing, Arken officially implemented a 4-day work week. The international leader in the supply of digital solutions noticed immediate improvements in employee productivity, satisfaction, and work-life balance.

Let’s hear their story to better understand Arken’s decision and the process of switching to the shorter working week.

How do employees feel about the reduced working time?

The pandemic has given Arken the perfect opportunity to look into employee satisfaction and test new working models. During the lockdown, when many people were working from home, the company noticed the output levels were intact. Employees continued to deliver unmatched performance even when out of the office. That made the Arken leadership rethink their internal practices for the sake of every team member.

Consequently, a nine-month trial was introduced. Since October 2020, all full-time employees at Arken have had Fridays off. The results were more than satisfactory.

  • The reduced working week has made a significant difference to job satisfaction and family life for nine in ten employees
  • 95% say they are either equally (19%) or more (76%) efficient and productive doing their job in four days as opposed to five
  • 81% of employees are more likely to stay at Arken.legal now the 4-day work week has been introduced

Benefits of a 4-day work week

As highlighted above, employees feel a 4-day work week allows them to perfectly balance work and life. Thanks to the extra day off, people can better manage their time and approach work with more energy and enthusiasm.

Employees can use their day off however they wish. While some do catch up on work, most use it to spend more time with family or run errands to free up their weekends. Many also use the day for upskilling and fitness – Arken runs yoga on Friday mornings for all employees who want to join. Moreover, the 4-day work week also gives people an opportunity to take long weekends away without having to book a holiday.

Speaking of the change, an Arken employee said:

I manage to get all my admin and chores done, so it doesn’t eat into family time on weekends. I also have the ability to do any extra work if needed but at my own time, with no interruptions. Essentially it is a ‘me’ day that allows me to use the time as I feel I need to – that can be getting admin done or just chilling out.

What about the future?

Arken.legal ran the trial period covertly and none of the clients realised that employees were working a four-day week. This proves that outputs were maintained despite the reduced hours. Pippa Shepherd, Head of Customer Engagement at Arken.legal, explains the company was always a big advocate of a 4-day working week.

If the last 18 months have taught us anything, it is that we need to create a more sustainable way of working, one that improves business productivity but has worker wellbeing at its core. By introducing a four-day week we have been able to improve work-life balance, strengthen families, and reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing productivity, and we would urge all businesses to consider it.

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