Sneak peek into an average four-day work week

The benefits of having a second Friday

Sneak peek into an average four-day work week


By Ryan Johnson

Two years ago, Tribeca Financial, a financial advisory firm that had a mortgage broking arm, had embraced a four-day work week. Now it’s reaping significant benefits in both productivity and employee wellbeing.

Tribeca’s CEO Ryan Watson (pictured above) has shared the challenges and benefits of the four-day concept – and what an average work week looks like for his “tribe”.

“Our brand promise among the Tribeca tribe is to embrace the philosophy called ‘the good life’ – a concept that promotes wellbeing not only for our clients but our employees too,” said Watson in a podcast with AB Talk

This stoic mantra led Tribeca to trial the 100:80:100 principle, where workers produce the same output but in 80% of the time while their salary remains the same.

“It’s incumbent upon us as employers to ensure our tribe is in the right headspace to service our clients. After considerable research, we landed on the idea of the four-day work week as it aligned with our values.”

The benefits of a second Friday

Much of the debate about the four-day work week is how it would practically work.

Tribeca Financial adopted a 'four-three workweek,' whereby employees work four days and have three days off each week.

“All the research we had seen suggested that this approach gives us far greater balance for employees,” Watson said. “How this works at Tribeca is we work a Monday, Tuesday, have Wednesday off and then we work Thursday and Friday.”

Watson joked that it often felt like the workweek really consisted of Monday, Friday, Monday, Friday.

“Or at least that’s the way it feels. We come in on a Monday morning highly energised and fresh off the weekend. And then Tuesday is, for want of a better term, a surrogate Friday.”

Wednesdays allow people to do what they want.

“People can focus on their personal admin. They can go to the gym or go the vet or focus on their health or study or whatever else. It’s often hard to find that balance on the weekend whilst also having a social life,” Watson said.

Then the employees come in for second Monday (Thursday) before looking forward to the weekend again on second Friday (Friday).

Watson said as time went on and the tribe adapted to the process, the easier and more effective the team became.

“Various members of our team have been able to:

  • balance being a financial advisor while fulfilling commitment to study,
  • devote more time to older family members,
  • spend quality time beyond parental leave with their young family,
  • and improve their productivity and work/life balance.”

Is your business value-driven or time-driven?

Another crucial point for employers to contend with is how to structure their workers’ salaries compared to the hours they work.

Some businesses will commit to a four-day work week while increasing the load on each day.

For example, employees who previously worked eight hours per day will now work 10 hours per day. This will allow them to maintain their current workload and avoid having to take on additional work on their off days.

For Tribeca, that’s not how it works.

“We haven’t specified how many hours each day each tribe member works. That may sound a bit strange, but we are a value-driven business not a time-driven business,” said Watson.

“It’s more about the value you are providing your clients. Are you hitting your key metrics in the business, both in a qualitative and quantitative sense? If they're doing that, it could be a pure 30-hour, four-day work week.”

This approach clearly resonated with the Tribeca tribe, with employees overwhelmingly ranking the four-day work week and flexible work as the best benefits for working with the company.

Should you consider a four-day work week?

While Watson admits a four-day work week may not be for everyone, he said it was worth it for any business to discuss the challenges and benefits with their team.

“Get clear on why you want to implement a four-day work week and how it aligns with your company's culture and business goals,” Watson said.  “Communicate the reasons behind the change clearly to gain buy-in from your team.”

Watson said the implementation and trial phase would take time to normalise the four-day work week and achieve the desired outcomes, such as improved effectiveness, culture, and trust.

“But if you're committed to implementing a four-day work week, it's certainly possible with the right structure and determination.

“I'm someone that likes to push the boundaries. Our purpose is quite different to most as I say screw the status quo and live that good life. But in all honesty, we weren’t ready either. Sometimes you’ve got to give it a go and try something new to make positive change.”

Click here to listen to the full conversation with Ryan Watson on AB Talk.

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