Why we moved to a 4-day work week model

There’s been a lot of questions as to why we adopted a four-day work week – let us explain the why and the how.

We are pleased to announce that Ursa Creative has taken a significant step towards enhancing work-life balance and cultivating a more contented and productive team. Effective immediately, we have implemented a 4-day work week, which has been met with great enthusiasm by our team.

We believe a well-rested and fulfilled team fosters exceptional creativity, innovation, and, ultimately, superior outcomes for our clients and partners. By affording our employees an additional day off each week, we empower them to pursue their passions, enjoy quality time with loved ones, and replenish their creative reserves.

Research shows that 4-day work weeks support happier teams

A model showing 100% pay with 80% time equals 100% output.
The Model 4 Day Week Global follows for their 4-day work week pilot.

This has been proven by recent studies conducted in Japan, Ireland, Belgium, Iceland, the UK, and Australia, where 6-month trials of the 4-day work week model have been in effect. The Australian non-profit organization, 4 Day Week Global, has played a key role in conducting research and piloting the 4-day work week model for over 100 different companies since its founding in 2019. The findings from these trials have been overwhelmingly positive, with organizations reporting equal or higher productivity and creativity, a 44% reduction in absenteeism, 95% of organizations favouring the reduced schedule, and 38% of employees feeling less stressed at work (4 Day Work Global, 2023) as compared to a five-day workweek.

These successful trials have prompted some businesses to immediately adopt the 4-day work week model due to profoundly positive effects on their bottom line.

It’s not just productivity and enhanced work-life balance that 4-day work weeks support, but also an improved work culture within the office. Denis Moriarty, the group managing director of Our Community (a software company that recently adopted the 4-day work week model) highlights that the shorter work week has led to people working with more focus, and more energy for personal and volunteer work. Moriarty believes that this cultural shift has been the most profound change observed (Sydney Morning Herald, 2023).

The 4-day work week model has also shown improvements in other areas such as reduced absenteeism, increased employee retention and attraction of talent, as well as environmental and societal benefits resulting from reduced weekly commute times and increased time for community and family.

Why 4-day work weeks fit with Ursa Creative

As a forward-thinking company, we have already laid the groundwork for a condensed work week. Previously, we had been working shorter Fridays, with only three hours dedicated to work. While it was a step in the right direction, we noticed that most team members would continue working on Fridays, resulting in limited opportunities to recharge and truly enjoy a well-deserved break. Recognizing this, we realized the potential of embracing a full 4-day work week and the benefits it could bring to our team.

To facilitate the transition, we have revamped our work schedule. Previously, we operated on a 35-hour work week, consisting of four 8-hour days with one 3-hour day on Fridays. We have now shifted to four 9-hour workdays, Monday to Thursday, totaling a 36-hour work week. This slight increase in total working hours allows for better distribution of tasks and ensures that we continue to meet the needs of our partners and clients efficiently. The additional hour each day also enables us to delve deeper into projects, enhance collaboration, and maintain high productivity levels.

Indigenous ways of being

As an Indigenous organization, we’ve also been looking at ways to decolonize our practices. One important way is to recognize the importance of holistic well-being, which encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. A 4-day work week provides our team with more time for self-care, family, community engagement, cultural practices, and connection to the land.

Both personally and organizationally, we want to promote Community involvement as one of the pillars our company is built upon. A 4-day work week enables employees to dedicate more time to their families, participate in community activities, and engage in cultural events. This fosters stronger relationships, intergenerational knowledge sharing, and community cohesion, all of which are integral to Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

An Indigenous cedar headband on a table with a smartphone and pen.

The promise of productivity

We believe that a 4-day work week increases productivity, and we are embracing it with confidence. By condensing work into a shorter timeframe, Ursa Creative is motivated to focus and prioritize tasks effectively. With an optimized work schedule, we anticipate that our team members will be able to accomplish their goals within the allocated time, resulting in higher overall productivity levels. Our additional day off provides an opportunity for rejuvenation, reducing burnout, and enhancing creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

By adapting our previous work schedule and recognizing the importance of work-life balance, we are confident that this transition will bring positive outcomes for our team members and the company as a whole. As we embark on this new chapter, we look forward to exploring the possibilities and reaping the benefits of this progressive approach to work.

References and further readings