Meet the UK firm that has successfully implemented a four-day working week

Arkren.legal, a digital estate planning solutions firm, has introduced a four-day working week for full time employees following a hugely successful nine-month trial.

This news follows a recent Business Leader report on Iceland’s move to a four-day week – should the UK make the move?

Since October 2020, all full-time employees at the firm have had Fridays off – with the exception of two staff who take a different day to ensure cover – but have maintained the same level of output.

The result has been an increase in productivity and efficiency, improvements in job satisfaction and a better work-life balance for staff. It has also changed the way staff rate Arken.legal – eight in ten say it has improved their view of the company and 85% say the introduction of the four-day week has increased the time they are likely to stay at Arken.legal.

Staff can use their day off however they wish, and while some do catch up on work, most use it to spend more time with family or do chores and run errands so they can free up their weekends.

Many also use the day for upskilling and fitness – Arken.legal runs staff yoga on Friday mornings for those who want to join. The four-day week also gives staff the opportunity to take long weekends away without having to book holiday.

Speaking of the change, an Arken.legal employee said “I manage to get all my admin and chores done, so it doesn’t eat into family time on weekends. I also have the ability to do any extra work if needed but at my own time, with no interruptions. Essentially it is a ‘me’ day that allows me to use the time as I feel I need to – that can be getting admin done or just chilling out.”

“School drop off/pickups and then upskilling – it’s a lot harder to find the energy to do this after work in the evenings so to have a day available for this is amazing. Then late afternoon with the kids.”

Arken.legal ran the trial period covertly, and none of their clients realised that staff were working a four-day week, proving outputs were maintained despite the reduced hours. Pippa Shepherd, Head of Customer Engagement at Arken.legal explains the four-day week was always something Arken.legal had been advocates of, and lockdown offered the perfect opportunity to put it into action:

“Studies show that a four-day week boosts employee work life balance and lowers burnout without sacrificing productivity, as well as challenging gender inequality, and we had been supportive of the idea for some time.

“Then, following the first lockdown, which proved not only that productivity could be maintained in a non-traditional remote working environment, but also that maintaining a good work-life balance is absolutely key to overall wellbeing – we decided to pilot the scheme, and it has been a huge success.”

As a software as a service provider, Arken.legal is all about increasing productivity using technology – its solutions deliver business efficiencies and an improved customer experience – and it wants to encourage other businesses to consider investing in tech to improve efficiency and free up staff time.

Pippa concludes: “If the last 18 months have taught us anything, it is that we need to create a more sustainable way of working, one that improves business productivity, but has worker wellbeing at its core. By introducing a four-day week we have been able to improve work-life balance, strengthen families, and reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing productivity, and we would urge all businesses to consider it.”

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