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The 4 Day Working Week - Review and Update

Bookishly & The 4 Day Week - an update!

It’s been nearly a year since we started working a 4 Day Week at Bookishly HQ. We were part of the national trial run by 4 Day Week Global and they published their final report today. 

Four Day Week Company

Summary of Bookishly 4 day week findings:

  • Increased staff efficiency
  • Healthier Mental Well-being
  • Childcare fee's are subsequently lower
  • Increased Eco-friendly awareness with less office trips
  • Staff feel heard and valued
  • Better work/life balance
  • Fewer sick days

It’s been a great experience, we’ve learned a lot and overcome some challenges, and ultimately we’ve decided to make the 4 Day Week permanent. Great news! I’ve spent a bunch of time talking to journalists in the last week, here’s an article on Raconteur that we contributed to, and one from Northants Live. The PR side of things has been fun, but it’s really all about the difference it makes to the Bookishly team. 

The benefit to work-life balance has been clear from the start. As well as using Wednesdays for general life-admin, we have team members that are volunteering, creating music, studying and working on side hustles. Sick days have reduced, and while we were recruiting late last year, it was clear that the 4 Day Week was a draw for some great candidates. I really believe it’s the future of work. As technology improves efficiency across all industries it should create more free time for people, not just more profit for CEOs. 

I think it’s also important to share the challenges. We managed to pre-empt a few of them but the whole point of a trial is to learn! There were two main things we had to overcome. We have increased efficiency but there is obviously a limit to what’s possible there. So we found that we didn’t have as much capacity for major errors, or for our (very) relaxed holiday schedule! 

During the summer it was clear that our usual policy of people being able to book annual leave at the last minute, pretty much no matter who else is already off, wasn't going to work. So we discussed it as a team and agreed that a more ‘normal’ approach to holiday with more notice and a calendar that shows who else is already on leave would be worth putting in place. 

When it comes to errors, most things were easy to manage but larger errors (eg a wholesale order printed entirely with the wrong logo on, or an entire batch of subscription parcels packed with an item missing) would be too difficult for one person to correct in a 4 day week. So we agreed as a team that if that happened (it’s very rare) then we would have an ‘all hands on deck’ situation where everyone helped fix it. No blame or shame, just teamwork to get it sorted. We all felt this was preferable to customers having to wait or people having to work extra hours to fix mistakes. 

It’s been a great experience, we’re pleased to have been part of the research and delighted to be making it permanent for the team here. I really must thank the people at 4 Day Week Global and David at Brett Nicholls Associates for their support. Thank you!

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Allison - March 23, 2023

Well done! I really believe we all have to embrace this change . The benefits to people and society are clear.

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