Why did 2Stories decide to trial a four-day week? How about answering a question with a question: have you ever met anyone that works in content marketing? Did they seem like…they needed to just cool it? That’s definitely how we felt, as a team, at the end of 2022. After a few years of global uncertainty, personal challenges and massive company growth, one thing was for sure: we all needed a bit (more) of a break.

So, along with almost 30 like-minded companies in South Africa, 2Stories joined a structured six-month trial with 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit community that believes the four-day week is the future of work. From 1 March until 31 August 2023, the master plan is to cut down working hours – without a reduction in pay or benefits – but still maintain 100% productivity.

As 2Stories co-founder and chief content officer Anelde Greeff says, “2023 is the year of people for 2Stories. We’re putting our team’s well-being at the centre of everything we do. And what better way than to gift them some precious time?”

But the four-day week pilot is not just about achieving a better work-life balance for employees, says 2Stories co-founder and chief operating officer Joanne Hope. “It’s about fostering a culture of innovation and productivity. By giving our team the opportunity to have more time for themselves, their families, and their hobbies, we’re investing in their overall well-being and creativity. We anticipate that this will, in turn, lead to new ideas, fresh perspectives and ultimately, greater success for our agency and, of course, our clients.”

About a month after we committed to the trial, the study results of the UK trial were released. If anything, they fuelled our desire to make this four-day thing really stick.

  • 71% of employees experienced reduced levels of burnout
  • 73% of workers said they were more satisfied with how they spent their time overall
  • 35% was the average annual increase in company revenue during the trial
  • 92% of the companies that took part are continuing with a four-day week

Also: the time men spent looking after children increased by more than double that of women; and business performance and productivity both scored an average of 7.5/10. Overall, the findings are consistent across genders, small and bigger companies, and generally across industries.

We initially questioned if it was possible, looking at our clients that range from big banks and fintech companies to retailers, luxury travel specialists, healthcare groups, and legal consultancies, some of whom have contracted us for a specific number of hours or days a week.

But an intense burst of team workshops sparked game-changing conversations that we might not have had otherwise. We thought of ways to streamline processes and create a seamless experience for our valuable clients. And we’re all confident that we’ve found a way forward to bring the best out of everyone on our team through honesty, creativity, flexibility and collaboration, without sacrificing anything that makes our agency so successful.

Convincing 4 Day Week pilots in North America, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and now the UK, with national governments and companies alike joining in, show that shorter work weeks ensure economic benefits can be shared by everyone, while improving quality of life, civic engagement and the environment. Four-day weeks are not limited to desk-bound workers either: nurses, sales staff, manufacturers, and restaurateurs as well as tech start-ups, established companies, and small businesses have seen its benefits.

Some 2Stories wins so far, only a few weeks into the trial, include:

  • Boosted team spirit and energy levels
  • Improved communication and smoother processes
  • Better employee engagement and focus
  • Increased creativity
  • Plentiful good PR about the trial

Stay tuned as we detail our journey over the next six months, and hopefully, beyond. Visit www.4dayweek.com to learn more about the movement – and how to convince your boss to consider it.