“The whole place goes like a library, and everybody just gets their head down and smashes through the work.”
Gary Conroy, CEO of 5 Squirrels, a British skincare product manufacturer, told CNN on Monday that what he sees in the office has changed dramatically since the implementation of the four-day work week. Instead of shortening employees' working hours, Conroy brought in ‘deep work time’ where for two hours every morning, and two hours every afternoon, the company staff ignores emails, calls or internal messages and concentrates on their projects, to increase work efficiency. He devised an environment where the employees could work less but focus on ‘what they really needed to do.’
Unity, a public relations agency in London, also quickly found ways to make it work after the chaotic period shortly after the implementation of the four-day work week. The company has banned all internal meetings longer than five minutes, keeps all client meetings less than 30 minutes. It also introduced a ‘traffic light’ system to prevent unnecessary disturbances — staff members have a light on their desk, and set it to 'red' if they do not want to be interrupted, 'amber' if they are busy but available to speak, and 'green' if they are happy to talk.
British think tank Autonomy and others collaborated with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston University to launch a four-day workweek pilot from June for 3,300 workers in 70 companies. For six months, workers with no cut to pay, work 80 percent of their usual week in exchange for promising to maintain 100 percent of their productivity.
In countries such as Iceland, which already implements a four-day work week, the reviews are positive. "The quality of life of workers in Iceland, which put 2,500 of its public sector workers through a trial until last month, has improved dramatically in many ways," Autonomy said. The U.S., Canada and Australia have also decided to conduct a four-day work week trial soon.