One of my main goals when starting Hatch was to create a company that was not just composed of employees working for Hatch but one where Hatch was also working for them.
Over the past few centuries, we’ve seen numerous changes to the way & duration people work.
It’s believed that Henry Ford made the 8-hour work day mainstream when he found that decreasing his employee’s hours actually resulted in increased productivity.
Back in the late 19th Century, the average work week was estimated at 60-hours per week. In the USA, it’s now sitting at 33.
The current 9-5 work week is one we’ve inherited from the labor laws of days gone by but there’s no reason it has to remain this way. The reality is that millennials have grown up in a much more free and liberal world and workplaces need to be more flexible and competitive to attract & retain the best talent.
When I first heard of the idea of working four day weeks, I didn’t think it would work. I thought the ten-hour days would be too much for the team, I thought that clients would be unhappy about us being open fewer days and I thought we’d struggle to meet our deadlines.
Thankfully, the reality is quite far from that.
We decided to take a leap of faith and try it out and now and, even after only being six weeks in, we’re starting to see the benefits.
The Hatch working week
So, what does a typical work week look like for us?
Each member of the team works 10 hour days from Tuesday - Friday. There’s no set time anyone needs to start; my philosophy is that it doesn’t matter when you do the work, as long as you’re meeting deadlines and delivering quality work.
That being said, we all usually start between the hours of 8-10am, finishing up between 6pm and 8pm.
We’ve also moved our weekly meetings from Mondays to Tuesdays. This isn’t a huge change in itself but the one main benefit we are seeing from this is that our clients have one extra day over the ‘weekend’ to look over the work we’ve delivered from the week before.
Over the past six weeks, we’ve started to notice some pretty big trickle-on effects in the way that Hatch operates.
We’ve seen a huge boost in efficiency within the team. It seems that working for longer periods of time allows us to get “in the zone” and truly focus on the tasks at hand.
Higher sense of achievement
The days might be longer but, with an increase in productivity, everyone is leaving after a days work feeling like they have accomplished a lot more. We’re not working any more hours remember, just reallocating them over fewer days.
Longer opening hours
We are now more available to help clients over a wider range of time. Because the first person arrives at 8am and the last usually leaves at 8pm, we’re now essentially open 12 hours.
Greater client feedback cycles
Because our weekly team meetings are now on Tuesdays, clients now get an extra business day (Monday) to review the work delivered from the previous week.
An extra day off
Weekends are supposed to be a time for resting & relaxation but we all know this time quickly gets filled up with social activities & running errands. The great thing about not working Mondays is that nobody else is. This means we get a day entirely to ourselves to just enjoy distraction-free!
The effect on clients
You’re probably wondering how this has affected our clients.
We knew people would ask, so, we thought we’d run a little test and see if anyone noticed. And the results? No one did.
Of course, we’ve been around to help in emergencies but no more than we normally would be. We always have someone assigned on a Monday to take care of any urgent support enquiries and there hasn’t been anything major so far.
We’re really big on maintaining a high standard of communication and collaboration with our clients so we were stoked to see how little this huge change affected our ability to deliver a great customer experience.
We’re really happy we’ve made this change.
It’s been quite a big shift for us but we’ve been trialling this for a while now and we’ve decided that it’s definitely here to stay.
Businesses really need to start thinking about ways to make their company & workplace more appealing to the younger audience. The old model of working 9-5, five days a week, whilst it had it’s place in time, is becoming antiquated.
The benefits of increased productivity, engagement & motivation are starting to have a really positive effect on the happiness & output of our team.
This is only the first step toward creating a culture of employee flexibility & freedom but I can’t wait to see what comes next.