20th June 2019 – A four-day working week. That is my dream for BigChange. I recently posted my commitment to this goal on this blog https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/bigchange-four-day-working-week-2021-martin-port/ – I pledged to get there by 2021.
Thank you to all the people who posted comments and offered advice. There has been a fair amount of scepticism too. This is why I have decided to put my plan into action a little earlier than planned.
From July, we are moving to a 4.5-day working week at BigChange for all employees. It’s a small step in the right direction but one that should pave the way for my vision of a 4-day week.
This decision has not been made lightly. I have been working closely with my talented HR Lead to figure out exactly how this will work, and to avoid any potential issues or confusion.
My colleagues at BigChange will now have the option to work for just half the day on Fridays. They can choose when they take the half-day. Some may decide to take the kids to school in the morning and come in a bit later, with some of the weekend chores already complete. Others may want to leave early and have time in the park with their little ones, or just have some more downtime over the weekend. It’s entirely up to them. However, this is not holiday – if you don’t use it, you lose it. We already give our people 33 days off a year, plus another day off on their BigChange anniversary (and bank holidays too).
For the majority of the people here, Friday is the only day on which the half-day is applicable. The only exception is certain customer-facing departments, such as Road Crew. They will have the option to take a half-day at other times of the week. We already operate a rota system for these teams anyway so it won’t be too hard to factor in some extra time off.
I foresee a major uptick in productivity as a result of this move. Studies have shown again and again that Friday is a ‘tail off’ day for most people. The day they are only operating at half capacity. Interestingly, Tuesday has been shown to be our most productive working day.
At BigChange, people will no longer feel tired and worn out by Friday. They will be able to take better care of themselves, spend more time with family and friends, exercise, and plan most adventurous getaways on the weekend. When they are at work, they will be sharp and even more full of enthusiasm.
BigChange is a technology business. This means that we rely on our brains not our brawn. I don’t need presenteeism to invade our culture. I trust our people to put in the work, do what needs doing, and be responsible for themselves.
I can say this with confidence because every single person at BigChange has been hired because they fit our five pillars. These five qualities underpin our entire organisation: Big on determination; Big on innovation; Being dynamic and Big on service, be the Big difference;
Of course, it helps that we are expanding globally too. As soon we will have our own companies in Asia Pacific and the US operation’s up and running, we’ll be able to divert calls and flip business enquiries to both teams, when required.
So thank you to all the people who have got in touch to ask about my 4-day pledge. You have helped to focus my mind and efforts on this move. I’ll let you all know how it goes, come July.
Founder & CEO