The Edinburgh Evening News spoke to the heads of two Scottish companies about the 4-day week and how it could help companies in the wake of the pandemic.
The first is Administrate, a software company in Edinburgh.
[Administrate CEO] John [Peebles] says he was initially concerned about business but has found opportunities opening up in areas like healthcare, including one customer in the US which needed training platforms for healthcare professionals explaining how to use ventilators to treat Covid-19 patients.
More broadly, “There is something about the efficiency and discipline required which makes it work.” Administrate is a software company, so having people who can think really deeply about problems, and who can work together to turn ideas on a whiteboard into working code and viable products, is essential.
The longer breaks also provide a benefit to both businesses and workers. “Humans struggle with maintaining sustained focus, let alone since iPhones came along, and work requires discipline. You need the space for down time with your brain to be creative.”
In Glasgow, they spoke to Pursuit Marketing director Lorraine Gray, who advises,
“With Covid-19, more people are working from home and it makes people think the work is achievable if they are getting results, and this gives employers the confidence it could work.
“Make sure you communicate and speak to your team about what benefits them. We have some staff who do term time work and come in and leave for school at 3:30pm, so reduced hours are definitely the way forward with part time schooling. Speaking to employees is key, as there’s no one rule for all.”
Lorraine says industries like manufacturing might feel shutting down on a Friday simply doesn’t work for them, but she says it can be worked around with employees doing different four-day stints.
I visited both Administrate and Pursuit Marketing when I was writing my book SHORTER, and you couldn’t find two places more different than a B2B call center and software developer. But both had very successfully made the transition to a 4-day week, and I heard a lot of similar things at the two companies about what you needed to do to make it work.
That juxtaposition of different industries and common experiences, was one of the things that convinced me that there was a book to be written about the 4-day week. And they’re only two of many companies in Scotland that have already made the transition to 4-day weeks, and if Nicola Sturgeon didn’t have them in mind when she recently talked about the potential benefits of a 4-day week for reopening, she should visit them immediately. And visit some others. I have a list.