Let’s face it, many of us never stop working.

My colleagues and I are
intensely passionate about our ability to guide clients and consumers
through today’s fragmented channels. However, coupled with day to day
tasks, high level creative thinking can become quite overwhelming. I
would argue that if we just took a little step back, the perspective
provided would pay dividends far beyond that provided by hours of
overtime and late night brainstorming. I want to give my clients more
value but at the moment I feel they are only getting a fraction of the
insight a more relaxed mind could be providing.

So what about working a four day week? Everyone seems to be talking about it but few in the marketing industry are able to follow through. When you’re rushing at the end of the week quietly screaming “I wish
there was more time” maybe it would be wiser to think about being more
efficient, effective and powerful with less time.

A four day working week:

  • Allows your brain to relax and be more creative
  • Forces you to work more effectively
  • Allows you to give something back to the community and your family

If we take ourselves out of the office and experience life a little we should be more in touch with those that we’re marketing to and more likely to have ideas that relate to them. Powerful ideas that cant be squeezed out at 7pm the night before the pitch.

More space to think, more ideas, more chance of delivering insight and value.

Does my job facilitate my life, or does my life facilitate my job?

When you’re retired do you think you’ll be wishing you worked more when you were in your 30s? Or perhaps reflecting on the fact that you rarely saw your friends, spouse or children? I’m trying to explore the ideal of working less and delivering better ideas that result in me retiring earlier.

The stereotypical idea in the shower is based on the likelihood that you’ll have more original ideas that cross more boundaries when you’re in a different space than when youre cooped up in a boardroom with some post-it notes getting high on marker fumes. I know it’s idealistic, but I truly believe that our briefs deserve more than a rushed, drained brain can deliver. At the end of the day, you can charge more for great ideas. It just takes some trialling to observe the rewards for your clients and employees.

Why the boss wont let you …

The common feedback I have heard is that the concept of the four day week will spread like wildfire and cause the business to crash. Not to mention that clients will be lost, the ones with high expectations. And in the back of the boss’ mind, unpaid overtime … the extra profit they make from you each and every day.

… and why they should explore the opportunity

To counter these issues there are some simple arguments to put forward. Some recent studies conducted in Australia by Sydney Uni actually observed higher productivity and job satisfaction in employees working four days when compared to their five-day counterparts.

Ask your boss to consider their current churn rate versus having happy, life-balanced, loyal employees working 100 percent four days a week. This unique offer creates a fantastic selling proposition to attract new candidates and you’ll be likely to stick around more that the 12-18 months that seems to be the norm at the moment. And client expectations, those super demanding, always-on-the-phone, walkie-talkie-strapped-to-your-desk clients … maybe four days a week will train them to become more efficient themselves, and I’m sure the fresh ideas you’re delivering will have them impressed. Plus, your day off will give them a chance to change their minds all by themselves 🙂

You can explore compressing 40 hours into four days, you may already do 10 hours a day anyway! But be careful, otherwise you may end up being paid less for the same output of work. Not entirely fair, however it may be worth it for the extra day of life on offer. You can also point to studies resulting in reduced sick days, I know its coming into winter and all … but way too many people are off sick lately.

At the end of the day, if you’re a knowledge worker, the sell should be around fresh brains delivering fresh ideas. There will always be more work to do, working a four day week forces you to focus on the important stuff while allowing space for your brain to refresh and spend time with those you love.

To succeed you have to be far more efficient

Theres plenty of things you can do to get more done in less time:

What you could do on your fifth day…

Do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but never had time. Now you have an extra 50+ days per year to …

  • Tick off your personal errands so that the weekend becomes open
  • Dont drive your car, walk to the shops
  • Save the world
  • Teach your kids something useful
  • Exercise your body, dont sit in a chair all day
  • Volunteer your services to those who really need it
  • Cook a nutritious meal to feed your brain
  • Read one of the dozen books you’ve bought but not read yet
  • Learn to surf, write poetry, read the stars, meditate
  • Have ideas like … BLUBLU or this from DRENCH.

If you do take the brave plunge into an alternative working schedule, let the Marketing mag readers know and post you comments here. We’d all love to hear about the transition and how it has changed your life.

Credit where credits due:

Ryan Carson – A List Apart
Leon Gettler – Sydney Morning Herald