Integrating a four day week at Type A Media
Four day weeks are generating a lot of noise right now. Some companies are trialling it, others incorporating it on a full-time basis. Many employees would easily opt for working less and having an extra day free at the weekend, but it’s not always as straightforward for the employers launching a new flexi work initiative. It takes some time, planning and consideration to ensure that the right balance is achieved and output isn’t negatively affected. We caught up with Ross Tavendale from Type A Media, a digital marketing consultancy, to find out how a four day week was introduced, maintained and flourished at his company.
Ross is the managing director of Type A Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in London Bridge. Having cut his teeth at big box agencies working on some of the biggest clients in the world, Ross started Type A Media with a view to doing things differently to give clients better value for money and to professionalise the services for SMEs.
1. What was the inspiration behind adopting a four day week?
We think that being effective is better than being productive. We care about doing a good job, not working an arbitrary amount of hours. Also, when we added Rescue Time to everyone’s machines (something that tracks productive time vs unproductive time) we found that Friday’s were really unproductive, so we canned them all together.
In the world of Agencies, the “big night out” is on a Thursday. So you get the entire workforce coming in with a hangover, then going a long pub lunch in the afternoon then having something called “beer Friday” on the afternoon. Almost no productive work happens. Therefore, instead of charging our clients for our most unproductive time, we decided to only focus on quality output - that generally happens Monday to Thursday.
2. How does a four day week benefit your business?
We get more done, staff stay in the business longer and as a result our clients have the same account managers for a long period of time. This builds trust and allows us to grow alongside our clients.
3. Are your working weeks generally based on full-time hours and how have your staff reacted to this way of working?
They are full time hours. We work 8-6 Monday to Thursday. By the time Friday rolls around the team are exhausted from a hard week so the Friday is necessary to properly recharge and give them a proper work life balance.
4. In your experience, as a media consultancy, have you found any difficulties implementing a four day week strategy?
None whatsoever. The secret is over communicating with you clients and to make sure that there are systems and processes in place to handle any emergencies that happen when the office is closed. As we deal with organic search there are no ad live dates or media buying schedules we need to adhere to. All work is planned every 3 months and we stick to the scope of work with the help of our project managers.
In order to increase productive work, we looked at all areas that are time sucks with no real valuable outputs…… we call these meetings. In this age of technology, I’m shocked that we don’t use video to do more reporting and updates to our clients. We have a full video walkthrough as well as a thoroughly planned out schedule of work, there is no real need to be caught up in lots of comms.
5. Would you have any advice for similar companies looking to move to a four day or flexi-working week?
If your business is chaotic and not disciplined, it will fail. You need rigid process and structure for this to work. That means a line manager with the stomach to push people to achieve their best in a short space of time and account managers that don’t take any nonsense or messing around in countless meetings.