Major Sheffield employer WANdisco backs four-day working week as ‘overwhelmingly positive’

A major Sheffield employer has given its backing the four-day working week – describing it as overwhelmingly positive.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 9:26 pm

The boss of WANdisco plc, based at Castle House in the city centre, says a swap to the new system in February has been a success, but warns others it is important to make sure that the expectations are clearly communicated to staff.

The advice comes as two Sheffield employers, AKA Case Management and Rivelin Robotics, were this week among 70 firms across the UK launching a trial of a four-day working week.

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David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco, major Sheffield employer has given his backing the four-day working week – describing it as overwhelmingly positive.

David Richards, founder and chief executive of WANdisco plc, said: “The move to a four-day working week in February has been overwhelmingly positive for our employees and has empowered people to work in the way they find to be the most efficient.

“It has encouraged our teams to question how they spend their time. For instance, does every member need to attend a particular meeting or can one attend as a delegate? Can some standing meetings be replaced with a dedicated Slack channel? Can meetings be for 30 minutes instead of an hour?

“Our empowered teams work as they see fit to accomplish everything they need to do in four days. For example, we see some engineers choose to start earlier in the day or take a shorter lunch break.

He said the benefit for his employees is they get Friday to spend with family and friends, pursue hobbies, volunteer or go away for a long weekend. He added Some people initially said they would prefer to keep to a five-day week, which the company would support, but in practice they had not found anyone doing that.

He added: “The move to a four-day week has helped us to increase productivity because we are able to do as much in four days as we were in five. It is a great hiring tool as well and enables WANdisco – with unlimited leave and a four-day working week – to compete with any employer, regardless of who they are and how much they are paying.

“If other companies are considering the switch, we would say it is important to communicate very clear expectations of what a four-day week means in your organisation. It will vary across sectors and be implemented differently. For some operations, such as customer-facing roles, a four-day week may not be possible so you may need to consider rota systems.

“In our experience, any drawbacks are vastly outweighed by the benefits for the overall business. The move has helped us work smarter, better and more efficiently.”

More than 3,000 workers at 70 companies will begin a four-day week - in a six-month trial being organised by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

Organisers say it is the biggest four-day week pilot to take place anywhere in the world.