What does it really mean to be happy at work?
Studies continue to show that spending more time at work doesn’t necessarily increase productivity or overall happiness. In fact, 98% of workers say it will improve their mental health to move to a 4 day work week. So, that’s exactly what we did.
A few weeks ago Hey Honey shifted to a 4-day work week and we haven’t looked back. The post-pandemic world has already normalised the concept of ‘flexi-working’—working from home, the office, or any other locations depending on the situation—so this change wasn’t too hard for us to grasp.
But, with any type of change, things haven’t been perfect. We want to share some of our experiences in the hope that this is something that others can learn and grow from.
Here’s how it’s gone so far:
Week 1. Huge outpouring of positive vibes from our team, everyone is on-board and there’s an air of disbelief. The impact of the announcement reverberates through the agency - our team, clients and partners applaud us and we enjoy our first ‘long weekend’ as an agency.
We spent our collective first Friday off in the sun (thank you Spring for showing up) from our respective locations, sharing photos on terraces, in boats, and at parks with each other across Amsterdam, Lisbon, and the UK. Some of us still had day-off jitters and were checking Slack and emails to make sure we hadn’t missed anything (we hadn’t), but that ended by week two.
Week 2. Reality sets in with people having not finished everything in preparation for the Friday we set as the day off for the whole agency. We agree to meet the following week to decide how to improve the process. We had a situation where one of our scheduling tools didn’t publish a post when it was meant to. Luckily, our WhatsApp group helped solve the problem, and someone jumped in to remedy the situation.
Our takeaway: if someone has a big campaign or post to publish on a Friday, they assign themselves a buddy to make sure they’re both holding each other accountable.
Week 3. We tweak, we change and we put in processes to avoid any confusion with our teams. The best form of learning is DOING and we’re in the midst of it. This week we really worked on our communication and honed the tools we were using (discovering new ways to organise ourselves in the process).
Week 4. There’s no going back as the team is settling into our new standard. We’ve had to adjust our schedules for the days we are working, and sometimes those calendars can get a little packed, but overall, having an extra day to travel (we’ve been to Edinburgh, Bath, Madrid, Brussels, Rome, Paris, and Bristol this first month alone, spend with friends and family, or focus on self/mental care has been more than needed.
Our four key learnings so far...
If things aren’t working, communicate with each other and make sure there’s open dialogue. The worst possible outcome is for one or two people in the agency to work in silence. Send out surveys to see how your team is feeling and do regular check-ins with your team to make sure no one feels overwhelmed. We also made a pact to be available on Fridays in case an emergency arose but given we can work from anywhere, hoping on a laptop or signing into Instagram or TikTok if we need to haven't put a kink in anyone’s day.
Have a very clear and solid plan for the four day work week - if you are not sure how it’s going to go, neither will your staff and you will all end up working on the day you assign as ‘off’ for the agency.
We made this mistake the first 2 weeks, but recognized it right away and nipped it in the bud.
3. Invest in Tools
For our agency, these tools come in the form of project management, social media scheduling and other great ‘smart cuts’ to make sure we are focusing on being efficient.
4. Test and Learn
Not everyone will adapt to the changes in the agency, learn by department who needs support and figure out how best to harness the resources you have available. We made the decision to bring in additional support for the longer weekends on some of our projects and it’s been invaluable for the team.