You know that excited feeling you get when a 3-day weekend is coming up? For some of us here at Archipelago that feeling is a reality every week. In April of 2022, we introduced the option for our employees to work on a 4 day schedule: 8am - 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
In the film industry, you don’t often hear the phrase “work-life balance”. Typically, you’re working constant long hours and weekends and it becomes hard to find time for yourself. This has been something we try to avoid at Archipelago.. So we took a page out of the European handbook and decided to try our hand at something that may be able to elevate each employee’s work-life balance. It has now been just over 6 months since we have started our 4-Day Work Week experiment and we’re excited to share the feedback we have received from our team.
There's a lot to love about working 4 days a week, instead of 5. However, if you Google “should we switch to a 4 day work week?”, you’ll find that there are many pros and cons.
We polled our employees for feedback and it reflects the results laid out by many articles. Here are a few responses:
“I feel like I am far more productive in the 4 days as I feel like there are enough hours in the day and a lot more time to collaborate.”
“It can feel like an overwhelming amount of time to fill for those who are concentrated on the same types of tasks all day.”
“Life outside of work feels shorter during the work week. I don't have much time for myself after work.”
“I think it greatly impacts my work life balance in a positive light. I can accomplish more in my personal time with the extra day off.”
This all comes down to one fact: everyone works differently. For some people having Friday off allows them to recharge for a longer period of time over the weekend and they feel more prepared for the following work week. Others would rather recharge in the evenings or have extra time in the morning. It really comes down to personal preference.
Flexibility with a 4-Day Work Week
This is when we found what works best: flexibility. If everyone works differently, then they should be able to work on a schedule that accommodates them and their needs. For those who are parents, it may be important to be at home earlier every weeknight with their children but for those who commute it may be better to work 4 days and save money on that Friday transit fare. We offered several schedule options including working a traditional 9am - 5pm or working 9 hours a day and a half day on Fridays. We continue to monitor how these schedules work for each individual and stay open to alternatives that may suit the individuals and workplace better.
Big changes such as this are never easy for any company but putting in place structures that allow the lives of our employees to be easier is always a net positive. We are still exploring what a work week looks like for each individual and are excited about where it has been going.
Communication is Key
With our new staggered schedules, we are still able to service our clients every day of the week. We have kept open lines of communication about each project between the producers and have at least one producer in our office Monday to Friday. This ensures nothing falls through the cracks and our team is able to service every client on the days they need us, including weekends.
This allows us to continue effective video production operation while prioritizing work-life balance in an industry where it often falls to the wayside. Because this type of work week is unheard of in the film industry (we might even be the first!), we ensure that our clients’ needs are still top of mind and our new schedule does not affect the work we produce. We hope to see more companies following similar paths in the near future.