4 lessons from changing to a four-day week- Press Release
It has been over six months since Wigan-based packaging manufacturer Belmont Packaging and their eCommerce division Boxed-Up announced that they were switching to a four-day week.
Being one of the first companies in the manufacturing industry to make this switch, the news caught a lot of attention, but now everybody wants to know how successful it has been.
With a new pilot program currently underway in the UK, 2022 could be the year the four-day working week takes off. Many British businesses have signed up to trial the four-day week concept, with hopes to get the same level of output from their employees in fewer hours or working days.
In the recent years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression, or anxiety had shown signs of increasing dramatically.
Belmont Packaging and Boxed-Up decided to make the change to give their employees a better work-life balance and improve their well-being.
Owner, Kate Hulley, and Commercial Manager, Gareth Rollo universally sang its praises and encouraged other companies to take the opportunity for change sooner rather than later.
Here are four lessons they learned from changing to a four-day week.
1. Listening to how our employees felt about the change made a huge difference
Belmont Packaging and their eCommerce division Boxed-Up decided to roll the four-day working week model across both businesses after a successful trial in the Belmont Packaging manufacturing department. They then communicated the change to their customers in advance via their website, social media, and other channels.
Kate and Gareth sat down with their team and discussed suggestions on how best the change would work in terms of factory hours and office hours before making any decisions. They learned from the results of the trial and took into account their employee's schedules outside of work, this has made the change successful for everyone.
Gareth Rollo adds “ We are really glad we spent the time listening to our employees and communicating this change before it happened. Listening to their thoughts and opinions has been the key to making the four-day week work for us six months on.
We now have the office open for longer during the four days by having some of the team start earlier and others come in later”
2. Your business model can be adapted and still remain successful.
The company which specialises in corrugated cardboard packaging had to adapt its business model slightly to make sure that it could still meet customer demands.
Boxed-Up extended their cut-off time for next-day deliveries from 12 pm to 1:45 pm on Mondays to Thursdays, to give customers longer to order for next-day delivery.
Orders received after this time are packed and dispatched the following working day. This means orders received after 1:45 pm on a Thursday are packed Monday for Tuesday delivery.
Kate tells us “ The response from customers over the last six months has been really positive, the team has adapted really easily and we have worked solutions out for any customer who had urgent requirements on a Friday. You definitely learn by doing!”
3. Working smarter increases productivity levels
Boxed-Up employees are now enjoying spending their Fridays in a variety of ways such as; socialising with friends and family, shopping, being able to do the school-pick-ups, and generally doing things they simply didn't have time for before.
Kate adds “ We have noticed that all our employees return to work recharged and ready to take on a new day. They are not working longer but instead working smarter”
The company has also seen an increase in employee productivity levels, as employees have expressed that now their home life is easier and so is their work life.
However, many businesses worry that shutting down their business every Friday will have a detrimental effect on their business performance.
Belmont Packaging and Boxed-Up have proved over the last six months the business has performed extremely successfully under the new four-day working week; with Belmont Packaging opening several large new accounts. The company still continues to serve its existing customers to the highest possible standard and receives positive feedback by working smarter.
4. We wish we had done it sooner
Belmont Packaging and their ecommerce division Boxed-Up, believe that a four-day week is the future and they wish they knew how easy it would have been so they could have done it sooner. They advise other companies to make the change and not to shy away from it as the results have been very successful for them.