Is a 4 day work week the future?


This week Shields changed the way we work. For the next 3 months we will be working a 9-day fortnight (9DF), allowing for one Friday off, every two weeks. This idea was constructed around the premise of increasing work-life balance, measuring the success of our productivity and as a reward after a very good year to 30th June 2022.


This year, approximately 30 UK companies are taking part in a six-month trial where employees will be paid the same for working four days as if they were working their usual five. We took inspiration from this and decided to see what we could achieve with our balance of time and work. So, we’ve taken a few small steps to start with. While we’re not a four-day agency, we are offering our team a nine-day fortnight for the coming three months.

Simply put, we work the same amount of hours, but condensed over nine days instead of 10. Every other Friday then forms part of a three-day weekend for our amazing staff.

Those on the scheme at Shields are split into two teams; A and B. Team A takes the first Friday off, and B the next. That way, every role or department in the organisation continues to perform for our customers on a Friday. We have a rota that ensures the business is always open for our customers five days a week. Our customers need that.

The scheme means we can offer the team six more days off over the three months without affecting our business model or productivity, which is the ideal outcome.

A large challenge we face is that we operate across many countries, so it wasn’t as simple as one size scheme fits all.

There has been great debate over the benefits of a shorter working week and more businesses are willing to trial this, since Covid-19. Studies have so far shown that a four-day working week benefits both businesses and employees. The world’s largest ever trial in Iceland was hailed an “overwhelming success” and a trial at Microsoft Japan saw productivity rise by 40%.

During 2022 we were reviewing our employee package; looking at what benefits we offered compared to other organisations and how we can support our teams through such a difficult cost of living time period. We wanted to add more depth on top of yearly increases.

During that time, our HR Director, George Stone and CEO, Daniel Jones were floating the idea of a four-day week for the team. Whilst the idea was explored in more detail we had to consider that as a partner lead business, ultimately, we need to be reactive to our partner’s requirements. To move to this structure would change our operating model completely, potentially causing disruption to our customers. We cannot allow that as our customers need our solutions to support their telecom networks. Shields’ high levels of quality and customer care remain focused on delivering upon our client’s highest expectations.

So the nine-day fortnight concept emerged as a middle ground for our Senior Leadership team. It provided some of the benefits of a four-day week, without reducing capacity, work quality, or partner satisfaction.

Our goal is to give time back to our team and allow for more balance in life and work. Giving a Friday back every two weeks allows for more time with friends and family, as well as finally having time allocated in the week to complete those life admin tasks.

Our expectation is to drive wellness and happiness in our organisation, which can reflect positively on our performance, productivity, enhance customer satisfaction (service with a smile) and help drive social benefits.

To find out more about our rewarding career opportunities, contact our People Team by emailing [email protected].