At Focus BC, our primary concern is our employees as a team, not individually but globally.
Years before the pandemic, we reduced working hours to 7 hours a day. Contrary to what one might think, this change brought more productivity to the team as time began to be better managed by everyone.
During the pandemic, we started to notice the fatigue of employees. Not because work had increased, but because we were all in a remote environment and adapting to back-to-back meetings and that feeling of always having to be available. To minimize the impact, we decided to offer Friday afternoons off so people would have a bigger weekend, thus making it easier to disconnect.
All around the world, companies are adopting 4-day work weeks without pay cuts. According to a January Qualtrics survey of 1,021 people, 92% support 4-day work weeks, saying it improves mental health and productivity.
Basecamp has a seasonal policy on 4-day work weeks. It’s called “Summer Hours” and it starts in May all the way to August. Meanwhile, at Buffer, the policy is permanent after a few experiments during lockdown days. Now the whole company operates on a 4-day workweek.
Some countries are experimenting with 4-day work weeks themselves with trials that can go from a few months to multiple years.
Iceland ran the largest trial, a 36-hour workweek between 2015 and 2019. Results showed a decrease in worker stress and burnout, as well as an improvement in work-life balance while keeping the same productivity or higher! Belgium, Scotland and our neighbour, Spain, are also having their go at the 4-day work week.
The impact of these types of measures is enormous and very difficult to achieve with other types of benefits. I dare to say that the best we can offer someone who works in an area like ours is quality time to be disconnected and do what they love most with those they love most. The feedback at Focus BC has been very positive, everyone is more rested and even more energetic every Monday.
We asked around to see what our people are up to on Friday afternoons these days.
Nuno Serra | Managing Partner
It allows me to spend more time with family, watching my daughter grow. I am also able to hang out with friends and surf or learn new things. Sometimes I do catch up on work to make sure I don’t leave anything behind. Sometimes, I don’t do anything at all!
Ana Guerra | Marketing Specialist
I use this time to read news and articles that caught my attention during the week or to progress on online courses. I’m a streamer on Twitch, so when cool new games come out on Friday, I block the whole afternoon to go live and play the game.
Mário Sobral | Product Owner
I ride my bicycle, swim or run in a more relaxed way on Fridays, pick up the kids at school and still have time to invite them for ice cream on the way home. Every other week, I do take care of pending things which need to be done during labour hours.
Pedro Quintas | Full-Stack Software Engineer
I get much more than just time to invest in coding, reading, drawing, DIY, gardening or playing video games. This gives me time to work on myself without eating into my weekend which leads me to a sense of accomplishment and allows me to get rested for the week ahead.
Whether people work, rest or find time for their hobbies during those afternoons it’s all okay with us, because what we want is to provide flexibility for everyone to enjoy life how they want to.