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Four day working week: the lessons

November 18, 2019

By dropping to a four-day working week, one Australian company has increased profit, revenue, staff retention and morale. Read how.

 

In the year since making her workplace Wednesday-free, Kath Blackham, Founder and CEO of digital design and voice experience (VX) agency VERSA, has seen an increase in staff retention, a reduction in sick leave, a three-fold increase in profit and almost doubling of revenue year-on-year.

 

It also means staff are actually limited in the number of hours they work each week so are less likely to reach burn-out and more likely to be more productive in the days they are at work, making it an integral part of the company’s focus on good mental health in the workplace.

 

And yet there are still those who continue to doubt the efficacy of such an initiative.

“There are certainly some businesses where this wouldn’t work because of their staff or client base or the nature of their business, but there is also plenty of scope to see what will work for your staff,” Blackham says of her decision to introduce a four-day working week.

 

“That’s why other people should try it. I want businesses to start having a discussion at a senior level to see if this works.

 

“I am trying to show other agencies you can be successful, profitable and growing. We have grown in the last 10 years 30 per cent year on year, every year, and this year we will grow by 46 per cent. Some of that is the emerging tech and part of it is due to the fact that we have a really great team of people who are happy and productive.”

 

VERSA is a Melbourne-based company with offices in Sydney and, since June, in Singapore.

 

It has a headcount of 55 and works with a number of well-known brands including Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Heinz, Dairy Australia, Pfizer, beyondblue and Village Cinemas.

 

Under the four-day working week structure, staff work their weekly 37.5 hours over Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There is just the one staff member who works on a Wednesday and that is because this is one of only two days a week she can get childcare.

 

Blackham says the four-day work week, introduced on July 1 2018, came after trying a number of fle