Today's employees are actively seeking roles that will bring about a harmonious balance between their personal lives and their professional commitments.
Best Workplaces™ are champions of flexibility and work-life balance – with several awarded organisations exploring flex models like the 4.5-day week.
Watch our conversation with Zoë Ogden, People Director of Impression, where she shares key tips and practices that made the agency’s 4.5-day workweek trial such a roaring success.
Impression is a digital growth specialist, serving market-leading brands across the globe. The company defines and delivers integrated digital strategies that transform their clients from market players to market leaders, and help keep them there.
In 2023 alone, Impression was awarded Best Workplaces™ recognition (Medium category) on all four national lists for which they were eligible, including a Top 5 ranking on the UK’s Best Workplaces for Wellbeing List 2023.
Key takeaways from the 4.5-day workweek trial
Co-create the change
Collaborating with employees to implement significant changes to people’s ways of working has several benefits. It fosters buy-in, boosts morale, yields insights from those directly affected, and enhances the chances of successful change adoption.
Zoë: “We looked at alternative models for flexible working, but the Leadership Team ultimately all agreed that having the same time off for everyone was the way forward for our organisation. However, we had a project team representing different departments who worked together in the run up to the trial. We also sent surveys out to the business to gather data from our people, both before the trial began and at the halfway point, to continuously monitor and optimise our new way of working.”
Know what success looks like
Setting out clear KPIs is vital to any trial as this offers clarity, holds teams accountable, allows for timely adjustments, and provides valuable data for informed decision-making. It also establishes benchmarks for future comparisons.
Impression’s measurements for success included:
- Client satisfaction
- Client deliverables
- Individual satisfaction
- Individual people metrics complete (OKRs, 1-2-1s)
- Achieving revenue targets
Connect with customers early
Over a 3-month period, Impression’s Client Success Team notified clients that the trial would be happening. This allowed customers to raise any concerns and/or collaborate with the Impression team to put in place support systems that may be require well ahead of the trial’s start date.
Zoë: “Overall, our clients haven't noticed any impact on delivery. A few have even said they wish they were doing it themselves! For those who needed us on a Friday afternoon, they felt our out-of-hours process fulfilled what they needed.”
Make meetings effective for all
Shorter workweeks mean the hours are more precious than ever. Empowering employees to master their time is key to ensuring the flexible working model becomes a catalyst for rejuvenation rather than stress. The magic lies in masterful time management, where unnecessary meetings and other distractions are minimised as much as possible.
To support their people to manage their time better, leaders at Impression have encouraged everyone to ask:
- Who actually needs to be in the meeting?
- Do I need to be in the meeting?
- Do we have a clear agenda for all meetings?
Zoë: “Ensuring everyone feels they have permission to say "I don't need to attend this" is something we’ve worked on. And whilst we considered all of these things prior to the change, in practise it’s taken a little more navigation to get things right and we are still navigating it.”
Take the time off together
Having everyone off at the same time may not work for every business, but the team at Impression have noticed several benefits to their people’s wellbeing, including:
- People properly switching off because no-one else is online – meaning burnout and the temptation to ‘do just one more thing’ can be significantly reduced for everyone.
- Friday mornings become productive admin time, providing an opportunity to have Mondays-Thursdays proactively mapped out, which improves productivity and reduces feelings of stress for the week that lies ahead.
- Strengthens feelings of camaraderie, community and belonging as everyone feels “we’re all in this together”.
Certification™ in 6 Minutes
Watch our 6-minute webinar with everything you need to know about how to become a Certified great workplace.