The four day week has been something of a hot topic lately, and let’s be fair it’s not surprising. For far too long, employers, employees, managers, juniors, everyone has worn the ‘overworking badge’ with pride and almost a sense of competition. Dedication and productivity, it seems, were defined by how many hours you worked; how many weekends you gave over to work projects; how many family events you sacrificed in lieu of a work commitment. Thankfully, there has been a gradual shift in mindset with many people starting to see through this express route to burnout, with the stark realisation that while work is wonderful (and undoubtedly essential) we cannot simply allow it to take over every aspect of our lives.
As a working Mum, and someone for whom maternity leave was a luxury not realised, I feel so strongly about having the (perhaps cliched) ‘work / life balance’. As Mamamade began to grow I was determined that there would be a genuine understanding for people’s personal lives outside of the 9-5. So many businesses I’ve seen offer ‘flexibility’ as a perk, but the reality is entirely different – I wanted it to be authentic for us. And so, even before a four day week became a discussion in the mainstream, it has been a core part of our business and something I am really proud of, especially now when it seems we have been ahead of the curve.
When fellow business owners ask me about how it works, the first question is around productivity and profit – how does a reduced working week affect the bottom line? In a simple answer, it doesn’t. Our team give it their absolute all when they are working, whether that is a stereotypical 9 -5, or a split day to allow for a school run, doctors appointment, tennis lesson – whatever. Less hours have never meant less output for us. Because we all have a good equilibrium between personal and professional time, it means we come to the table with fresh ideas, great energy and yes…..unwavering commitment.
So as the topic du jour moves ever higher up the news agenda, I would argue that a four day week is most definitely part of our success, and why we have brilliant people with brilliant ideas propelling the business to greater and greater heights.