From 4th April 2022, Whyfield is moving to a four-day working week with a twist – our staff will be working a four-day week, but the office will still be open five days (Monday to Friday), plus we’re extending our opening hours to 8.30am – 5.30pm.

 

Life has changed a lot in the past couple of years. We have worked incredibly closely with so many of our clients and realised that we need to be on hand as much as possible to support them and their businesses for more of the day.

We’re also learning to look after ourselves more and make our mental health a priority. A healthy work-life balance is at the core of this and by giving ourselves more time to rest, it means that we can put more of ourselves back into our work. We’re more productive, more positive, more focused, and… we’re happier. Isn’t that what life is about?

 

Here’s how it’s going to work

  • Each team member has an allocated day ‘Out of office’, but only a few will have the same day off, meaning there will still be 80% of the team in the office each day. Instead of closing the office and all staff having a three-day weekend, employees have a mix of days off.
  • The day each employee has ‘out of office’ will not change, so you’ll know when you’ll be able to contact them. Their designated day off will be made obvious in their email signature and on their ‘Meet the Team’ profile on our website.
  • We’re ending the optional ‘working from home’ at Whyfield, so when a team member is scheduled to work, they will be in the office, available for calls and appointments.
  • On the days we are working we will be available from 8.30 am – 5.30 pm for our clients to contact us.

We work collaboratively, in an open-plan office so whether we’re here, on our designated day off, on annual leave, or absent, there will always be someone in the office to answer your questions, and for more of the day too.

With all of the above, we believe we will be more present for our clients and have more time for ourselves.

 

The why

We’ve put a lot of work, thought and planning into the structure of the new four-day week, and we are confident that this will be beneficial for employees, employers and clients alike.

Clients will be able to speak to us during more of the working day and come into the office before 9am and after 5pm (the average working day). Employees will have gained a healthy work-life balance – working an hour extra per day to receive an extra day off with no change in salary. As an employer, we expect to see an increase in efficiency, productivity and focus, as well as reducing our environmental impact with individual cars coming to the office one less day a week (20% reduction in emissions).

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the thoughts and feelings of many about the way a modern workplace has to run. This extra day will be invaluable to the team here.

Working patterns have changed over time. According to the BBC, in the 19th Century most British workers worked six days per week, but in the 1930s the pharmacy chain, Boots, popularized the two-day weekend as a way of boosting wellbeing and productivity. Now, calls for the four-day working week are growing amid similar claims that it could improve people’s lives.

We’re in no way the first company to implement this scheme. There are a whole host of British (and international) businesses who have seen great success by moving to a four-day week, while some are currently in a pilot programme to trial this for a six-month period.

We envisage this becoming the norm in the not too near future, and we’re proud (and very excited) to be early adopters of this.

 

Our team members are planning what they’re going to do on their day off.

Many are going to try and spend it outdoors, especially as we are approaching the warmer months.

 

“I am hoping to use my extra day off for some outdoor time with my boyfriend, doing some of our favourite hobbies – snorkeling, fishing, hiking and surfing.” – Cherie

“Sunrise run’s will be top on my list, it’s my favourite time of day! Finding hidden gems and cute coffee shops to visit, and catching up with friends and family.” – Kerry

“I’m looking forward to going out on some solo adventures, exploring more of Cornwall. But not before I get some life admin, organising and cleaning done, giving me more time to unwind at the weekend.” – Megan

 

Others are planning to get our ‘life admin’ done on our day off. Whether it be beauty treatments, errands, food shopping, paperwork, cleaning and organising – this day can be used to work on the bits that usually take up the weekend, leaving Saturday and Sunday to do the things we really want to with our loved ones.

 

“I am excited to have a day to myself to catch up on life admin so the whole weekend can be my time to relax with friends and family.” – Kelsey

“House cleaning, a nice long gym session, chilled lunch out, life admin and family business admin. Then the afternoon is mine to enjoy: a beach afternoon if it’s really sunny (fingers crossed), sports massages, walks and coffees with friends, and hair appointments (very occasionally).” – Rachael

 

And we are able to spend more time with our little ones – something that a lot of us wish we could do more of when we juggle a career and family life.

 

“I’m grateful for the four-day work week. I’ve pulled my son out of nursery on that day, so I’m looking forward to spending precious time with him until he goes to school in September.” – Emilie

 

Whatever we’re planning on getting up to, we can all agree that we’re very excited about this move to a four-day working week.

 

“I’m very excited! Whyfield are always innovative with their approach to people management, being more efficient is key and who doesn’t like a challenge with the bonus of an extra day off?!” – Kerry

“The four-day working week makes me feel relieved as I will have time for myself and family, my dog and the running of the house on a day that is not weekend.” – Dorota

“I think it will give a new wave of energy to everyone. Having a whole extra day off a week is so useful for work/life balance. It will put the pressure on work wise and will mean we all need to communicate more efficiently but I personally work better under pressure.” – Rachael

 

In a high-pressured environment like an accountancy practice, it’s imperative to make sure we are staying focused and utilising our time efficiently. By extending our daily working hours and giving ourselves an extra day to relax, get to appointments, and focus on self-care, we are able to put more of ourselves into our work. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we really need to look after ourselves. Working smarter is key – driving better results, better performance, and a happier workplace meaning retention rates stay high and we’ll continue to attract the best talent to our team.

 

If you’re thinking of implementing a four-day week or would like to find out more, here are a few key takeaways of the benefits, as detailed on the official 4 Day Week website.

Productivity: trials in large companies, such as Microsoft in Japan and Buffer in the US, as well as lots of companies in Cornwall and the rest of the UK, have shown that a four-day week increases productivity.

Sickness: One in four sick days are a direct result of overwork. A four-day week would reduce sickness-related absences or presenteeism (coming into work without being productive).

Retention: Replacing a single staff member is costly to a business. A four-day week is a tangible incentive to improve retention, reducing costs, disruption and a dip in staff morale when a friend and team member leaves.

Innovation: Rested minds are more creative and more likely to imagine and discover new and better ideas to run your business. The long walk you’re on during your day off could clear your head and bring fresh ideas for Monday morning.

Recruitment: A four-day week makes your organisation stand out from others in the field and more attractive to talent.

Sustainability: Reduce the ecological footprint of your organisation by reducing commuting, and carbon-intensive consumption patterns like buying packaged sandwiches and takeaway coffees.

Care Friendly: Whether for a young child, an elderly parent or someone else with caring needs, having time away from work to care for those closest to you is of growing importance in our society. This also leads in to gender equality. Women are more likely to take an unequal share of caring responsibilities, often locking them out of full time, secure, well-paid work. A four-day week creates time for all workers to take on their fair share of caring.

 

There are even more benefits than this. Head to the 4 Day Week website to read more.