One UK-based PR agency that implemented a four-day working week without cutting staff pay in June 2018 has made public the impact the move has had on the business.
Last June, the founder of Radioactive PR announced an initial six-week trial of the four-day week and after receiving a positive response from both clients and staff, decided to make the shortened working week permanent. One year on and the results are in.
They show that Radioactive PR has increased its earnings by 70% in the last year while maintaining its net margin.
Since the successful trial, the business has continued to grow, boasting a 70% increase in turnover against the same 12-month period prior to implementing the four-day week. The agency has also celebrated a number of new clients across multiple sectors, adding to its roster including household name brands, startups and personal PR clients.
Feedback surveys have been commonplace over the last 12 months, with staff and clients praising the initiative. All client respondents said they were happy and comfortable with the four-day workweek beyond the trial. Each staff member said they enjoy a better work-life balance and said they’d felt ‘more relaxed at home as a result of the four-day week’.
When staff members were asked ‘do you think you’ve enjoyed a better work-life balance since it was implemented?’ with a scale of 0-10 (0 = not at all to 10 = definitely), three-quarters of the team selected 10 – definitely. The next question was ‘do you think there has been a drop in communication with clients since the four day week began?’ 100% of the team answered 0 – not at all.
Employees at the four-year-old agency went from working 36 hours per week across five-days to 31 hours, working Monday-Thursday, and are paid the same salary.
In addition, staff sick days, already low at just 1.1 per employee per year, have halved, and the number of CVs received per job role advertised have doubled.
Rich Leigh, the founder of Radioactive PR, said: “Happy staff doing great work with happy clients. It’s not the catchiest mission statement, but after four years, it’s an ethos that has served and continues to serve us very well.
“We’re building a real culture of trust in the team, at all levels, that they can manage their time to deliver the results clients want and expect. But ultimately, we’re trying to instil an emphasis on work-life balance that is tangible; that is felt every week, where automated and time-saving technology is embraced to improve our lives.
“We’re one year into four-day working week and the results are fantastic – turnover is up 70% and net profit has increased. In the last year, I’ve been clear with the team that it’s ours to lose. And it still is – I wouldn’t steer us into an iceberg if it was clear it wasn’t working.”
Rich continued: “The most important thing for us is to ensure that client results don’t suffer because of the four-day week, and the results are overwhelmingly positive.
“Clients have been amazingly supportive – both clients that were with us prior to the change and new ones we’ve taken on since – and this is down to us promising that we are still contactable, just as before and that if a crisis occurred or they needed us at 10 pm on a Saturday night, we’d be there.
“Results and communication are still a priority for us, and in the world of PR, where you’re constantly proving yourself and there are plenty of other alternative agencies for clients to choose, there’d be immediate and irrefutable feedback if it wasn’t working!”
He added: “I’ve long-thought that overworking and unrealistic expectations on staff time runs counter to results, especially in an industry where, last year, 60% of people surveyed said they’d experienced mental ill health.
“It feels good to know that for both current and future employees and their families, we’re offering something that isn’t some spurious work perk but something that positively impacts their personal and professional lives.”