Health and wellbeing in the workplace: What Agent Marketing learned from trialling a six-hour work day

 
Paul Corcoran
Portrait of businesswoman at desk
Source: Getty

Agent Marketing has long had a keen interest in exploring how various health and wellbeing initiatives can help the business flourish.

At Agent, all of my employees are encouraged to meditate for fifteen minutes a day, in addition to weekly early morning yoga and monthly massages. It's things like this that keep the team positive, enthusiastic, and focused.

Our latest venture is to trial out the six-hour working day, to see how it affects productivity and employee wellbeing, and whether it's something that could work for us and businesses all across the UK.

Read more: You're probably spending an hour a day working for free

Fitting eight hours of work into a six-hour day forced us to evaluate our working habits and find ways to streamline them. We focused on scrapping everything that was unnecessary, and managed to establish new processes that were just as effective, but took much less time.

The best example I can think of is our regular weekly team meeting, during which we talk about ongoing projects and where we’re all at in our work. Usually, it takes about one hour for all 14 of my team to brief everyone else. With the new time constraints, we became brilliant at condensing everything down and not wasting a second. Our current record for a full-team meeting and briefing is eight minutes, with nothing missed out.

I’ve also noticed the change in my team. Every day they arrive into the office looking absolutely refreshed, sharp and ready to knuckle down. Some of them have started new hobbies with their spare time, whilst others have been able to spend more time with their families.

Read more: How introverts can succeed in the workplace

At first, we were being extremely strict about having an instant cut-off point for work after six hours. But this sometimes left employees feeling frustrated, especially if they had deadlines to meet. What we’ve now done is introduced a degree of flexibility. We encourage employees to leave after six hours, but understand if they must stay behind a little. After all, the client always comes first. This flexibility has left the team more satisfied.

We’re going to continue the trial until the end of the month, and then sit down as a team and figure out what has worked and what hasn’t. We’ll also connect with our clients to get their feedback.

Whichever way we choose to move forward, we’ll come up with something that works well for both us and our clients. The key is being flexible and adaptable.

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