My company introduced a four-day workweek. Guess what happened?

As the chief executive of a digital start-up bank based in the north of England, I knew that coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we needed to re-energize our company. Lockdowns had been tough on everyone, and the strong demand for technology workers as the economy bounced back threatened to take away some of our best people. To combat this, we made the decision to switch to a four-day workweek. 

However, this move wasn't a result of "wokeism" gone mad. Instead, it was a pragmatic response to the employment market and the development of our company. Our goal was to increase productivity rather than reduce it. The idea of a four-day workweek has gained momentum since the pandemic, and we wanted to see if it could counteract the "Great Resignation." 

Before implementing this new policy, we planned it out in great detail to reduce the risk of backfiring. We designed new shift patterns, established core hours that had to be worked and looked at studies in Nordic countries that showed it could be done successfully. In November 2021, introduced the four-day workweek to our staff, cutting 3.5 hours off each employee's workweek while leaving their pay unchanged. 

We were pleased to find that our employees were receptive to the change, and there was no measurable deterioration in productivity. In fact, we saw a reduction in recruitment costs, unwanted staff attrition, lower absences due to sickness, and higher employee engagement with our brand. We also saw higher employee productivity, higher profitability, and higher customer satisfaction. 

Although we can't be sure of cause and effect, we believe that our approach to the workweek is contributing to these positive trends. As the world of work continues to evolve with the acceleration of artificial intelligence and other technologies, we must prepare for a radically new world of work. In this context, even a four-day workweek might seem positively outdated.

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