The Power of 4
Coming out of furlough was like coming out of hibernation.
The vast majority of The Plant had been furloughed for most of April and May 2020, but winning a great pitch and the green light for a number of new projects meant that we had to hit the ground running, and fast.
The opportunity to trial a new way of working together seemed like a sensible and progessive thing to do, pushing the reset button and doing something new. A four-day working week would potentially help to protect our staff from the threat of redundancy in the future and would help provide work to our broader family of collaborators.
Over the last year, there has been a number of trials carried out by companies across the world that suggest productivity improves with a four-day week, and Microsoft Japan reported that productivity increased by 40% after a one-month trial.
MP’s in the UK are asking the government to consider the impact and benefits of a four-day week following the COVID 19 pandemic, with some research suggesting that it could actually boost the economy with workers spending more in their time off.
There are other obvious benefits to staff in terms of their wellbeing and mental health, with more time to spend with friends, family and working on side projects outside of their normal working hours.
So back in June we put a new process into place. The aim was to create a new system without affecting the quality of our work, our capacity to deliver on time and to some aggressive timelines.
After 3 months our new routine is working well.
We’ve delivered some amazing work, all on time and to a very high standard. We’ve been able to maintain all of our full-time staff and have provided work to our broader network of colleagues on a consistent and flexible basis.
Our staff feel more relaxed, more inspired and with the benefit of more time and space have the capacity to be more creative, not only for The Plant but for other projects they’re working on.
Personally, I’ve found it difficult to switch off, and find myself at my desk when perhaps I shouldn’t be. More often than not though, this time is spent on our community projects, and side projects we’re trying to develop with a much more sustainable angle.
We’re going to extend the trial for another 3 months, and see how it works as we begin to move gently back in to our studio.
We'll let you know how it works out!
Well, we succumbed to our work ethic and returned, somewhat reluctantly to a 5 day week late in 2020.
One of the most important factors was the ability for a small business to pay 100% wages, and working only 80% of the working week. It was what ultimately broke our resolve and sent us back to our desks on Mondays.
We're still trying to figure out how this impasse can be crossed, and until that happens we continuue with the status quo.