Fuel’s 4 Day Week, the results are in…
This time last year, the directors of Fuel were having some bold discussions about the company being the best it can be. Naturally those discussions flow from our mission which is to Fuel growth for our clients and people.
We introduced flexible working hours before the pandemic and adopted a hybrid working model when things returned to normal. With creativity levels and workplace wellbeing high priorities, the next step for us was to take a serious look at a 4 day week.
We opted to consult on the model in Q2 of our new financial year and, if that went well, implement a 6 month trial in Q3. We went for it and applied the following tests:
- Hitting the same annual target for 2022/23 that we set on a 5 day working week
- Maintaining high satisfaction levels with our clients
- Maintaining high motivation levels within our team
We’ve crunched the numbers, sent out surveys to our clients and our team, and the results are now in…
It’s a relatively simple measurement, you either get there or you don’t. We did get there and grew our revenue by 8.3% whilst increasing our profitability.
On reflection, this was no mean feat, particularly in the last six months of our financial year in which we tried the model in a cost of living crisis, with rapidly rising inflation which had a significant impact on eCommerce consumer spending, and business investment decisions in terms of brand strengthening projects.
We reached out to all clients who worked with us before and during the trial and 91% said the quality of our work had either improved or stayed the same.
We had lots of positive comments such as “The level of service we have experienced has been great and there has been no detriment to the level, quality or availability of service; so we believe the 4 day week works well” and constructive comments “Better visibility of who is off which day each week so I know who to contact if I need a quick response”.
As with any client survey we’ve done (and indeed commissioned for clients) there are always areas in which we can improve. One such area is making it very easy for clients to see who is available to them by publishing our team’s rest days on our website rather than them relying on looking through our email footers. Another measure will be to provide more clarity on who can undertake tasks if a specific person isn’t available immediately. Also, our team doesn’t have its usual rest days in weeks where there are Bank Holidays. We could have been more proactive in communicating that too.
Whilst our team had fair warning and training on what a 4 day week would look like, all of us were used to working a 5 day week. Here’s how they felt about the trial and its benefits in comparison to the recent UK-wide trial of over 60 companies:
- 82% have a better work life balance (54% in the UK trial)
- 42% saw an improvement in their mental health (43% in UK trial)
- 42% saw an improvement in their physical health (37% in UK trial)
Their comments included “I think we’ve struck a really good balance so far, I don’t know what further tinkering there could be at this point so I’m comfortable with where we are” and “I have higher energy levels and felt less tired than usual going into our Christmas break”.
In terms of improvements, there was a concern that we have less ‘Fuel time’ to work on our own stuff. So we’ll look at creating more opportunities for this which won’t involve us reducing the time we spend on client work which, as we said right at the start of the trial, will remain the same as it has always done.
Based on the data and feedback from our clients and team, we have decided to formally adopt the 4 day week model and keep improving it as we go – much like you’d continuously improve whatever model you operate.
As a responsible employer, we think it is important to remain proactive about keeping our people as fresh and informed as possible to fuel growth for our clients. It’s a simple formula that means we’ll continue to recruit, retain and reward top talent who fit our values.