Digital marketers rejoice: The four-day workweek is here to stay
Here's a look at the four-day work week, why it's a good fit for digital marketing, and what to consider before trying it out for your team.
The four-day workweek has become a hot trend of late – including in search marketing. Some agencies have adopted a four-day week with great success.
Are you considering trying out a four-day workweek?
If so, read on to learn about the impact of a four-day workweek on digital marketing, the pros and cons, and tips for adopting it at your company.
The four-day workweek and digital marketing
Digital marketing is considered one of the most flexible industries due to its online nature. Simply give digital marketers an internet connection and we can get to work. The industry has seen fantastic results when implementing a four-day workweek.
Reflect Digital, a Kent-based digital marketing agency, reflected on the four-day workweek after testing a one-year trial. CEO Becky Simms felt it was, “the right thing to do.”
After the year-long trial, Reflect Digital found that productivity increased by 20%, and overall job satisfaction was up by 90%.
“We are more productive with our days and the creative output has been fantastic, working with bigger brands than ever before,” Simms reported.
I can also personally attest to its value to someone who is self-employed in the digital marketing world. A couple of years ago, I began to suffer burnout. I shifted my schedule to work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Of course, I can modify this based on my plans and schedule, but having these more frequent off days has allowed me to maintain a better state of mind, improve my mental and physical health, and enhance my relationships with my spouse and peers.
The prominence of a four-day workweek in other countries
Multiple countries are doing four-day workweek trial runs and the results have been overwhelmingly positive:
At the beginning of 2022, Belgium signed a reform package that allows employees to decide if they want to work a four- or five-day week.
The six-month trial granted companies the ability to condense their current work week down to four days, as long as they still meet 38 hours per week.
In addition, employees now have the right to “disconnect,” meaning they can turn their work phones off and ignore any messages sent after work hours.
From 2015-2019, Iceland ran two trials that reduced the work week to 35-36 hours, with zero reduction in pay. The trial involved over 1% of Iceland’s entire working population – around 2,500 employees.
Productivity levels and service provisions remained the same, if not better than before the trials. Since the trial’s completion, 86% of the country’s workforce still utilize the shorter work week in their daily lives.
The report explained that the participating workers “took on fewer hours and enjoyed greater well-being, improved work-life balance and a better cooperative spirit in the workplace – all while maintaining existing standards of performance and productivity.”
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The pros of a four-day workweek
The top productive countries in the world include Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
What do they all have in common?
They all average around 27-35 hours per work week. Taking out the extra work hours is like taking the extra fluff out of an essay – get to the important stuff.
Increased employee engagement
Weekly meetings can take up time and mental capacity. Chances are you've had a few meetings where you end up spacing out due to a lack of interest or focus.
With a shorter work week, you'll have more energy to give your projects and responsibilities. Getting more time to yourself might even bring back the initial passion you felt for your role.
Better for the environment
Transportation is the biggest contributing factor to greenhouse emissions, and economist and sociologist Juliet Schor says that commuting to and from work is a big part of it.
The Environmental Protection Agency noted that in 2020, the transportation sector accounted for 27% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Just as we noticed during the COVID-19 lockdown, the huge reduction in driving, flying, and industrial output showed dramatic changes. The global emissions went down while air quality increased.
Improved employee morale
Give and take! Knowing that a company cares about your well-being will likely entice you to put more effort into your job as an employee.
Autonomy improves morale when employees feel more in control of their time and availability. As a company, you have happier employees putting in more productive work.
Helps recruit better fitting employees
If a company's new business plan is to go down to a four-day week, they'll have to focus on hiring people who can fit that structure.
Finding people who can be more productive in less time may be slightly more difficult but ultimately worth it.
The cons of a four-day workweek
Despite the great outcomes that a four-day workweek can bring, it isn't perfect.
Does not work in all industries
It may be difficult for emergency services, grocery stores, public transport or high-demand jobs to join in on the shorter work week.
However, it is ideal for digital marketing and other fields that already thrive in remote structures.
Some workers thrive in a traditional work environment
Some people prefer to be in a physical office space. The preference could be for productivity and accountability or the social aspect of being around others.
Too much freedom could also potentially take away from focus. Working from an office daily means you can keep an eye on employees' productivity and not just assume they are "working from their couch."
How to determine if the four-day workweek can work for your digital marketing company
Set specific goals and objectives around output, revenue, and retention to see how to proceed forward.
The following are additional tips for considering a four-day workweek.
Strategize with your team and discuss what type of structure works best with their needs
Start out with one day a week without any phone calls or emails between the team. Next, you can try one half-day a week.
Whether you ease into a four-day workweek or jump in headfirst, make sure all employees feel comfortable with the shift.
Figure out how to track progress
If you find a way to assess the overall performance during a trial of a four-day workweek, you’ll be able to see if it’s the right move for your company.
Stick to the routine you create to stay productive
Once your company decides to change the workweek structure, stick to the agreed routine for the length of the trial run.
Really try to embrace the changes and make the most out of them. It may not be easy or perfect, but the lasting effects should be more than worth it.
The four-day workweek is here to stay
The four-day workweek may not be for everyone. It’s important to consider the costs, the type of industry your company works in, and the preferences of your employees before making the switch.
However, the benefits of change are clearly there – higher productivity, better employee morale, and it’s better for the environment.
Search and digital marketing have proven to be adaptable fields already. By taking it a step further and implementing a four-day workweek, businesses can generate a better work-life balance for their employees and reduce stress and burnout.
The four-day workweek certainly isn't going anywhere. It can offer millions of people a more satisfactory work-life balance.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.