In July 2018, independent agency, Deepend, implemented a four-day working week agreement for all staff. The idea has been measured. The results are quite spectacular. The agency has had a 46% growth in revenue since the agreement, the first in an Australian agency, began.
The agency was also awarded Employer of the Year at last week’s AdNews Agency of the Year Awards.
Behind the flexible four-day week offer is Deepend’s realisation that the wider industry environment is shifting towards greater emphasis on employee flexibility and remote working and its long-term understanding and championing of the philosophy that staff satisfaction is key to driving productivity.
The four-day week at Deepend is simple. The office is closed every Wednesday, so there are no client or internal meetings on that day. Staff can choose either to work longer on other days and have Wednesday completely off or work from home on a Wednesday and fit the day around what else they have on. This is, the agency feels, is a milestone in Deepend’s ongoing commitment to flexibility.
Kath Blackham, founder and director, commented, “Our culture at Deepend Melbourne is special and something we want to protect and grow. We strongly believe in valuing and nurturing our talent. We recognise that our staff work hard in very demanding and high-pressure roles and the truth is that we all need flexibility to manage our complex lives and commitments. I’m surprised and proud that Deepend Melbourne is the first agency to offer this arrangement. I’m confident others will follow our example once they observe the benefits.”
Recent studies in New Zealand and the US suggest that productivity increases when staff are granted the freedom to be flexible and this is something that Deepend has demonstrated. Employees feel more empowered, engaged and stimulated at work. Freedom and trust contribute to pride in the agency, and to a generally healthier agency culture.
A four-day week also means that 20% of commuter traffic is removed, placing less demand on transport infrastructure and reducing pollution. The flexibility can help address the gender pay gap too, since many working parents already make compromises on salary versus time.
Jonny Clow, Deepend Melbourne managing director, stated, “Frankly, I think this is the future of work, now. The success we’re seeing from a business perspective is already evident. Unsurprisingly, our staff have universally embraced the philosophy. Talent and creativity need respect and protection. Stress and burnout are always a threat. This is about allowing our staff to continue to deliver the highest standard of work possible for our clients.”