If you have ever wondered what would happen to a company if it decided to work only four days a week, instead of five, this document will give you answers.
Welcome to the Jungle tried out the four-day working week in 2019 for five months, between June and October. After the trial ended, the company decided to implement the four-day week, without impacting salaries.
The questions this experiment raised for us were numerous:
How did the company adapt to the new schedule?
How did the change impact the company’s financial performance?
How did it impact the company’s non-financial assets (including brand image, employer brand, etc.)
How did the four-day week affect employees’ work-life balance?
How did it influence the way people work together and interact?
What effect did it have on the work’s quality and creativity?
This document aims to provide insights on our experiment. It includes an analysis of its impact on performance, people, work practices, and processes, as well as an explanation of our key takeaways as a company.
While stress at work slightly increased, the stress response seems to have diminished. Employees may learn how to cope with stress better, even if it’s increased, in a context where they feel more in control, reflected in higher internal locus of control. Finally, family satisfaction also increased, which could point to a better work-life balance, known to be crucial for employees’ wellbeing.
The first difficulty observed concerns the need for better coordination within each team, to share information and to anticipate. Mistakes happen more rapidly in four days and it is essential to anticipate communication at least two days in advance, since two days off can follow.
Reducing the working week by 20% did not cause a 20% drop in performance, although the business continued to be operational five days a week. Changes were introduced to boost productivity: only essential meetings were held; communication processes were rethought; automation tools were brought in and performance indicators were updated to monitor long-term and qualitative success. The sales teams reached the same business performance as before by working only on projects with a high added value.