Following a six-month trial, international recruitment firm MRL Consulting Group have proved that the four-day working week is good for business.
Established in 1997, the Brighton-headquartered company, which also has offices in France and Germany and employs 54 people across the business, initiated the trial in March 2019 following CEO David Stone’s belief that his team could ramp up their efficiency to complete five days’ worth of work in four.
“We’re an output-based business, so we’ve always been driven by results, rather than the time people spend at their desks.
“I considered that if people could be really self-critical of the time they spend at work, cutting down the time spent scrolling and socialising, then we’d be able to give them Fridays off. The results generated during the six-month trial have led us to implement a four-day week working model on a permanent basis.”
During the six-month trial, MRL increased productivity and boosted both staff retention and attraction levels.
“Initially, we started thinking about a four-day week to help with staff retention and internal recruitment,” David stated.
“We’ve received more interest from potential employees who want to work with us since the beginning of the trial and our retention is now at 95 per cent. Ultimately, our overriding objective was to find a way to improve the team’s quality of life and give them a proper work-life balance and that is what this new way of working is enabling us to do.”
Since the trial began, MRL has seen productivity rise by staggering 25 per cent, while 9 out of 10 (87 per cent) of staff reported a marked improvement in their mental health and reduction in workplace stress. 95 per cent said they feel more rested after the three-day weekend.
MRL’s Operations Director, Kelly Robertson, noted the effect that the trial has had on the employees’ wellbeing:
“It took some getting used to at first, but everyone has really ramped up their activity and people come in on a Monday rested and ready to go.
“Since the trial started the team have had more time to spend on themselves, on their mental and physical health and with their families and you can really see the difference in the mood in the office.
“People are more motivated to get their work done in a shorter time and it’s clear to see the benefits they’re experiencing. I can’t think of any other business that invests so personally in their employees.”
Recruitment is reportedly the most stressful working environment, with 82 per cent of consultants claiming to feel stressed at work. Since MRL implemented the four-day working week – believed to be the first recruitment business of its kind and size in the UK to do so – David has served as an advisor for other businesses on how they can apply the model within their organisations.
“We’ve got a guide on the website which details everything we did and some handy tips, but my biggest recommendation would be to just go for it!
“If you’re an output-based organisation and you are realistic about what you want your team to achieve in the given timeframe, there’s no reason you can’t have a four-day week.”