In May 2020, Redback made the leap to a 4 day work week. With COVID-19 forcing companies across the world to rethink their operations, this Newcastle-based digital agency decided it was time to test a brave new working model.
Now, almost one year on from implementing their ‘No Work Wednesday’ policy, MD Dave Eddy can confirm they made the right move. To help you determine whether this structure could benefit your business too, Redback has shared its key takeaways 12 months in.
The positive impact of a ‘No Work Wednesdays’ policy
It’s safe to say that Redback has seen clear improvements in productivity – about 23% since last year, a large portion of which they attribute to the 4-day work week.
With longer working days, their team has the opportunity to sink their teeth into larger chunks of work. And thanks to that mid-week break, brains remain fresh and focused when Friday comes around. This increase in efficiency has happened at a particularly good time for Redback, too, with a growing volume of digital project work on the go, ranging from small business marketing strategies, to large university websites and government projects.
The agency has also seen a 31% increase in Revenue since implementing the No Work Wednesdays model – a pretty strong feat for a 22-year-old business navigating the pandemic (they plan to celebrate with a sleek new office space in June!).
It’s not all about work, though. This model has brought a major bonus away from the desk.
‘‘The move has been pretty awesome for us. The team all love having their Wednesdays to get life admin done. It frees up the weekend to be the weekend!’’ - Dave, MD
While Dave has more time to focus on the float for a company he co-founded called Camplify (think Airbnb for campervans!) each Wednesday, Redback employees can take care of life admin and in turn dedicate their weekends to pure leisure.
As well as funner Saturdays and Sundays, that additional day off means more headspace for personal lives – arguably the most valuable outcome.
‘Having another day off each week has really improved my work-life balance. With two-day bursts of work, I no longer get that Monday morning feeling, which is priceless!’’ - Ely, Content Coordinator
All benefits considered, it’s no surprise No Work Wednesdays have been a big draw card for many job candidates this year, playing a key role in Redback becoming an employer of choice in Newcastle.
Considerations for other companies
While it has heaps of advantages, a condensed working week isn’t a winning model for every business. For instance, with a full 37.5 weekly hours compacted into four days, it’s important to consider the issue of overtime in an already extended work day.
‘‘One of the reasons it's worked for us is that nobody really worked massive overs previously, so there hasn't been a dreaded production reduction.’’ - Mel, Account Director
Thankfully, Redback doesn’t need to wrangle in too much overtime, as the team have always managed their workloads well. That said, this potential problem could be a deciding factor for companies that frequently face extra hours.
‘‘There are only 24 of us so we don’t need to coordinate a huge workforce. We also don’t have a high percentage of parents on our current team needing to pick up and drop off school kids.’’ - Dave, MD
Additionally, if your team members require varied, more flexible hours, then you might need to rethink adopting this approach. As the name suggests, a ‘No Work Wednesdays’ policy rests in working approximately 9.5 hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. While you can tailor this structure to your employees’ needs, it seems to work best when everyone’s on the same schedule!
Last but not least, client-facing companies should consider what’s best for the people they support. While Redback has made sure there’s no disruption to their clients on Wednesdays, this may be more challenging for businesses that are required to provide a full level of service every day.
The final verdict
Team happiness rating: 9.2/10
Increase in productivity: 23%
Boost in revenue: 31%
Rise in no. of Redbackers: 15%
When it comes to ‘No Work Wednesdays’, there’s no going back for Redback. With productivity and morale levels both on the rise since it’s implementation, there’s no doubt that this structure has been a success!
But before your business follows suit, make sure a condensed working week is the right fit for your people.