Future of Work: How to make the four-day week work

There’s few that wouldn’t jump at the chance to enjoy three days off every week. But how feasible is it for the creative industry, and can design studios and ad agencies get over their always-on mentality? CR finds out

At Pursuit Marketing in Glasgow, workers live the kind of existence most of us can only dream about. Every Thursday at 5pm they close their laptops, get up from their desks and don’t come back to the office until Monday morning. There’s no sneakily checking emails over the weekend, or frantic clients getting in touch with last-minute pitches – just three gloriously free days for them to do whatever they want with.

The company launched its four-day working week in 2016, after running an initial pilot with 20 staff in the company. Founder Lorraine Gray says that Glasgow is a highly competitive city when it come to marketing and branding agencies, meaning it’s often a fight to get (and keep) the best talent.

“We knew we’d have to do something a bit disruptive to be different,” she told CR. “We’d always championed flexible working and family-friendly working, and what we’d found is that the people who were working reduced hours per day, or reduced days per week, were achieving the same – if not more – than people working a traditional full-time pattern. When we spoke to them, we found out people working less hours and days came in with a different sense of momentum and motivation. They knew they wanted to come in, do their job, and leave to enjoy that quality time without worrying about being behind on tasks or projects. They’d come in with a different level of focus to attack the week.”

After a successful pilot, Pursuit introduced the scheme across the entire company – keeping everyone’s working hours and salary at the same level, but giving everyone the Friday off. While the prospect of squashing five days’ work down into four might seem daunting, Gray says it’s paid off for them.