Sheffield tech firm WANdisco moves to four-day weeks to boost 'productivity and wellbeing'

One of Sheffield’s best known companies has shifted to a four-day week to ‘boost productivity and increase wellbeing’.

Monday, 7th February 2022, 1:24 pm

WANdisco staff now work four 10-hour days, with Friday expected to be the day off for most, although five day working is still optional.

Salaries and benefits will stay the same, the company says, and employees can choose whether to work from the office or home.

Sheffield sweets manufacturer Maxons has been working four-day weeks for 16 years, with longer days, but Friday off.

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David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco

Bosses recently said they would never go back because it saves on fuel and climate change levies, gives staff time to book appointments they might otherwise have to take time off for, saves on childcare for some and means everyone has the weekend to relax.

WHY HAS THE COMPANY BROUGHT THIS IN NOW?

David Richards, WANdisco CEO and co-founder, said two years of hybrid working due to the pandemic had showed fewer working days increased productivity. And the move would give staff ‘greater flexibility’.

The tech company, which employs 180, has a base in California and 62 staff in Castle House, the former Co-op department store in Castlegate, Sheffield, which is now a tech hub.

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He said: “It may feel counterintuitive to many business leaders, but a four-day working week is now an inevitable economic reality for us all – and it’s only a matter of time before many others will follow suit.

“We are proud that WANdisco is a pioneer in this area, and that we are keeping in step with the new economic and working patterns emerging from the pandemic.

“It’s worth remembering there’s historical precedent. In 1973 when UK commercial use of electricity was limited and forced a three-day working week, most people expected a proportional 40 per cent drop in productivity.

“Much to everyone’s surprise, productivity in fact went up, as people found ways to work effectively within the new time structure.

“What’s more, John Maynard Keynes predicted back in 1930 that the working week would be drastically cut, to perhaps 15 hours a week, thanks to technological advancements and changing priorities.

WANdisco staff work 40-hour weeks.

Last month, some 30 companies started a four-day week pilot, but working seven-hour days, to measure whether employees can operate at 100 per cent productivity for 80 per cent of the time.

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