The Drum’s 4-day week

London

The Drum, which covers the marketing industry in Europe, has released a video about the 4-day week at The Lab, a London agency works a 4-day week with a 10-hour day. “‘Thursday is the new Friday’ is a phrase that we’re all familiar with but it’s now becoming a reality for workers at companies that are adopting a four-day week,” Drum CEO Diane Young says.*

It’s a good video, as you’d expect from a media company that follows the marketing world, and it does a good job talking about the benefits and challenges of shifting to a 4-day week. As founder Jonny Tooze explains,

I think one of the key things… is that because we are working slightly less hours, and those hours are compressed, we’ve had no real choice but to to improve process and become more efficient. And as a result, actually, the business is a better business.

Later, he expands on the benefits:

Having a workforce that is super-engaged is fundamental to the success of a business. The 4-day working week does improve engagement in business, there’s no two ways about it. If you’ve got higher engagement you have high productivity, you’ll get better work from people, you get more discretionary effort, people will love the business more, and love being part of it more. That will also increase profitability for the business.

And also it will give you a chance to have some time off as leaders…. In my day off, you know, I do a lot of thinking about the business. One of the things that I found, and one of the things I really hoped to find, was boredom: I’ve actually found periods of boredom back in my life…. The natural human reaction to boredom is to get creative, and it forces you to be creative as a person– and that is where life really is, right, that’s where the essence of life is, when you’re in a creative space. If you’re hectic and busy and you know write on emails and social media and running around doing this job and that job and that job, you are just absolutely not creative whatsoever. When you’re sitting, then you’ve got a shitload of time to do whatever the hell you want, and you get inspired; you can be creative and you can just do some amazing stuff of your life.

And that’s what people are doing right now. You’ll find that in the business… the stuff they’re doing is immense and really fun.

Young also interviews several people at the company about how they use their extra time, and how a 4-day week changes daily work. As one person explains,

It’s longer days because we still work the same amount of hours…. It’s more intense as well, but in a way it’s good because it helps you prioritize really on what you actually need to do. So then you focus on the stuff that you actually really really need to get done within a week, and you don’t have as much time to get sidetracked by email… or slack messages coming in all the time. So you just keep your focus where it needs to be.

*As is so often the case, the automated transcript is garbage; for some reason, Scottish accents remain impervious to artificial intelligence. I spent some time in Glasgow and Edinburgh interviewing companies for my new book, and I use an automated service to create transcripts; it’s almost always awesome, but it chokes once you go north of Hadrian’s wall.

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