My Personal Journey

By Sophie Holly

I’m Sophie, and I’m going to share with you some insight into my personal journey as an employee living and working with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As any person living with neurodiversity will tell you, it’s never a straightforward or linear journey. It comes with a lot of trial and error, ups and downs, and a lengthy process of finding what works for you. However, having the support of your colleagues and employers will be beneficial to anyone like myself.

I didn’t know I had ADHD until I was 23. I went to my GP to seek help with terrible sleeping issues that I’d always had but were now interfering with my new job. Upon delving deeper into my sleeping problems, I was urged to have an assessment for ADHD, and as it turned out I ticked all the boxes. Growing up I struggled at school especially when it came to focus and deadlines. I struggled terribly with my emotions among other things. There is so much I can pinpoint from my childhood years that now makes so much sense to me. Even into adulthood, I felt lazy, disorganised, and forgetful, and that really impacted how I performed at work. When you’re neurodiverse, you start to understand how the world really is built for neurotypical people, especially the working world, and that is extremely challenging.

Adapting to Work with ADHD

Before finding my current job I hadn’t worked in a little while, so when I finally entered a structured work environment I found it very difficult to adapt. Challenges soon presented themselves. I was easily overwhelmed. Sticking to deadlines was difficult no matter how important they were. It’s worth noting that many with ADHD don’t tend to see importance as easily as others, we see novelty, so it makes prioritising important tasks very hard! I would worry that the way I was would hold me back. However, seeking out strategies and coping mechanisms tailored to my own needs helped me navigate the workplace more effectively.

One of the most significant coping mechanisms for me has been using different planning methods. I rely heavily on to-do lists, calendars, and reminders to keep me on track. Breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps helps me stay focused and prevents me from feeling overwhelmed. What I’ve learned is that, for me, there isn’t one solid fix to being productive and staying on task 100% of the time. It’s worth having multiple methods to lean on depending on the day you’re having. Whether you’re having a more motivated day, or you’re stuck in the dregs of executive dysfunction.

I still get very easily overwhelmed, some small tasks look like mountains to me. This applies to both home and work life and can make getting started all the more difficult. This can be a frequent occurance, but I’ve learned to take breaks and come away from my desk to do something else if I need to. The work will get done, but it won’t be done well if I’m stressing about it too much.

The Importance of Colleague Support

One the most helpful aspects of my journey has been the support I’ve received from my employer. Through my diagnosis and since then, I’ve had incredible understanding and support from my employer. Alison has had to navigate and adapt as much as I have.

Another game-changer my employer made was offering flexible work arrangements. Having the option to work virtually or adjust my hours has been crucial for me. I struggle with routine, habit and structure. My employer gives me the freedom to work within my means and find my own routines. This has been so helpful and has improved my productivity by miles.

Clear communication and expectations have also been essential. My employer takes the time to provide me with detailed instructions and deadlines, ensuring that I know exactly what is expected of me. As someone who struggles following vague instructions, I need as much detail and information as possible. Asking for more clarity and receiving it has been great for my work.

But perhaps most importantly, my employer has done a fantastic job of making me feel valued and respected at work. We both have vastly different minds and ways of thinking. She appreciates that I might approach something differently, and actually, it makes for some great creative collaboration between us. She’s invested in sourcing out helpful tools for me. She spoke with me to find ways of working that would benefit us both and expanded her knowledge of ADHD to gain a full understanding of how to accommodate me.

A Positive Outcome

Looking back on my journey, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. I am also proud of how hard I have worked to improve. While living with ADHD has its challenges, I’ve learned to embrace it for what it is. In a world built for neurotypical people, it’s a relief to have found a workplace willing to embrace my differences. And with the support of my employer, I’m accomplishing more and more as time goes on.

So to anyone out there struggling with ADHD in the workplace, know that you’re not alone. With the right support and determination, you can overcome any obstacle and achieve your goals. Keep pushing forward, and remember, your ADHD does not define you, but it is a part of you. You are more capable than you think. By encouraging workplaces to be more open to making adaptions for neurodiverse employees, we could really make a positive impact for so many people.

You can read the other side of this story in the blog my employer wrote on Embracing Diversity.

If you would like to discuss your challenges, then book a complimentary 30-minute Zoom session. Click the link below. Find a slot that works for you, select it, and you are all booked.


A Journey of Understanding and Adaptation

Welcome to our journey of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace. As an employer, I’ve always strived to create an inclusive environment where every employee feels valued and supported. However, it wasn’t until we embarked on this journey that I truly understood the importance of seeing each individual and their unique set of needs that I really fostered an understanding of neurodiversity in our workplace.

The Discovery

It all started when we hired Sophie, a talented social media influencer who happened to have ADHD. Despite her exceptional skills, Sophie struggled with traditional work structures and often found it challenging to focus for long periods. Instead of viewing her struggles as obstacles, we saw them as opportunities to learn and adapt. She joined us as a Kickstart employee to learn how to translate her social media understanding to social media communication and marketing for businesses. She transitioned into an Apprenticeship and now works 3 days a week, while juggling running a house and bringing up her energetic daughter, Liv.

Making Changes

We began by implementing simple yet effective changes to accommodate Sophie’s needs. We approved her to be mostly home working so that the had a quiet workspace. We allowed for flexible work hours so that she could also balance her productive times and support her other commitments at home.  We introduced task management tools to help her stay organised and paid for a professional organiser to help her structure her house and chores to take away some of the worries.. These adaptations not only improved Sophie’s productivity but also benefited all of us. We streamlined, strategised and put stuff into easy-to-understand processes.

Simple Adaptations for Employees

As we delved deeper into neurodiversity, we recognised the importance of understanding the diverse needs of all employees, including those with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To create a more inclusive workplace, we made a few simple changes that any employer could implement:

Quiet Space to Work: Offering quiet space can benefit neurodiverse employees who may thrive in different environments or require breaks to manage their energy levels effectively. Whether that is a hideaway in the office or working from home, whatever works for your businesses and your employees.

Clear Communication: Establishing clear communication, such as using concise language and providing written instructions along with verbal ones, can help neurodiverse employees better understand tasks and expectations. I can always tell when I am too vague, Sophie tells me. I am honored that she feels comfortable enough to just “say it as it is”.

By implementing these easy adaptations, employers can create a more supportive and accommodating environment for all employees, regardless of their neurodiversity.

Spreading Awareness

Our journey didn’t stop within the walls of our office. We took our learnings beyond our company and collaborated with clients to help them support neurodiverse employees. Through workshops, webinars, and informative resources, we empowered other organisations to embrace neurodiversity and create inclusive workplaces.

A Client Story

Supporting Autistic Employees

I worked with a client struggling to support an autistic employee. Armed with knowledge and empathy, we helped them to support their autistic employees more effectively. We suggested creating sensory-friendly spaces, helped update their communication guidelines, and offered mentorship programs tailored to their needs. These initiatives not only enhanced their workplace culture it strengthened their relationships with clients who appreciated our commitment to inclusivity. We also provided training and coaching to their employees to help them understand neurodiversity.

Embracing Diversity, Enriching Lives

Our journey of embracing neurodiversity has been transformative, both personally and professionally. By making adaptations for employees and fostering understanding, we have created a workplace where every individual can thrive. I encourage other employers to embark on their own journey of discovery, because when we embrace diversity, we enrich not only the lives of our employees but also our organisations as a whole.

Join us in building a world where everyone, regardless of their neurodiversity, feels valued, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential.

This blog aims to share our story while providing practical insights and tips for other employers looking to make their workplaces more inclusive for neurodiverse individuals. Through empathy, education, and adaptation, we can create environments where everyone can shine.

You can read the other side of this story in the blog from the perspective of my neurodiverse employee Sophie here:

If you would like to discuss your challenges, then book a complimentary 30-minute Zoom session. Click the link below. Find a slot that works for you, select it,  and you are all booked.


Mental Health at Work – Time for a Different Approach

In today’s fast-paced and high-stress professional work environment, mental health has emerged as a significant concern. Unfortunately, there is still a prevalent stigma surrounding mental health, largely due to the misperception of its intangibility. Many individuals tend to believe that what is invisible is unmeasurable and, therefore, unworkable. Consequently, mental health is often considered harder to prevent, detect, and manage compared to physical problems. However, it is high time we challenge this notion and adopt a fresh approach to prioritize mental health in the workplace.

The Hiring Challenge

Traditional hiring processes often focus solely on technical skills and experience, neglecting the importance of assessing an individual’s mental wellbeing. By expanding the hiring metrics to include psychological wellbeing assessments, organisations can identify candidates who possess not only the necessary qualifications but also the resilience and emotional intelligence to thrive in a high-stress environment. Also having training in place to support and develop people in this area can be an attractive proposition for potential employees and a value add for those already working for you.

You have the metrics if you have a workforce that is struggling. You will see it in your sickness report. If they are doing fine you will see it in their productivity and in their employee feedback questionnaires. Not tracking those already then it is time to start. In companies that have developed organically, with everyone knowing each other, these types of metrics can be sidelined. They are very important things to measure. Start before you really need them, because you will need them.

How to Cope:

Promoting mental health at work is a shared responsibility between employers and employees. It is crucial to create an open and supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their mental health challenges without fear of judgment. Encouraging open communication, providing access to mental health resources, and offering flexible work arrangements are effective coping strategies that foster a mentally healthy workplace. this will only happen when mental health is spoken about openly from the top of the organisation down.  If I am having a challenging time I share it with those working around me. How can I expect others to share unless I am prepared to go first!

A New Approach:

To combat the intangibility stigma associated with mental health, organisations should adopt a holistic and proactive approach. This approach involves investing in comprehensive resilience training for all employees, including managers and supervisors. By equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools to understand and support mental health, organisations can effectively prevent, detect, and manage mental health issues before they escalate.

Understanding Brain Functions:

Educating employees about the basic functioning of the brain can empower them to recognize the signs of mental health problems and seek appropriate help. By understanding how stress impacts the brain and learning effective stress management techniques, employees can develop resilience and improve their overall wellbeing.

Employee Happiness:

While financial compensation is important, it is not the sole determinant of employee happiness. Organisations should consider factors beyond salary, such as providing opportunities for growth, recognition, and work-life balance. Creating a positive work culture that values mental well-being and offers appropriate support systems can contribute significantly to employee happiness and overall job satisfaction.

Embracing Diversity:

A diverse workforce brings unique perspectives and experiences, fostering creativity and innovation. Organizations that value diversity and create an inclusive environment for all employees demonstrate their commitment to mental health. By celebrating individual differences and promoting equality, organizations can cultivate a supportive workplace culture that enhances overall well-being.

It is essential to challenge the misperception that mental health is intangible and unmeasurable. By adopting an innovative approach, organisations can prioritize mental health in the workplace and promote a culture that supports wellbeing. Through comprehensive hiring metrics, coping strategies, education on brain functions, fair pay rates, and embracing diversity, we can create mentally healthy workplaces where individuals can thrive both personally and professionally. Let us take the first step towards positive change and embrace a fresh perspective on mental health at work. Together, we can make a difference.


Metrics That Matter

In today’s competitive business landscape, companies are recognising the value of prioritising employee wellbeing. This is not just as a means to enhance productivity, engagement, and retention. A critical component of fostering a culture of wellbeing lies in the hands of the Human Resources (HR) team. By effectively measuring key metrics, HR professionals can gain insights into the overall health and satisfaction of the workforce. Let’s explore what your HR team should measure. How do those metrics contribute to cultivating a culture of wellbeing within your company?

Employee Engagement:

Measuring employee engagement is a foundation for understanding the level of commitment and motivation within your workforce. By utilising surveys, feedback mechanisms, and performance evaluations, your HR team can assess factors such as job satisfaction, alignment with company values, and work-life balance. These metrics provide invaluable insights into the overall wellbeing of employees and identify areas for improvement. Engaged employees are more likely to experience a sense of purpose, take ownership of their work, and feel supported, leading to increased productivity and a positive work environment.

Wellness Programs Participation:

Wellness programs have gained significant traction in recent years and for good reason. By tracking the participation rates and analysing the impact of these programs, HR teams can gauge the level of interest and engagement in employee wellness initiatives. Metrics such as attendance at fitness classes, use of mental health resources, and adoption of healthy lifestyle activities can help assess the effectiveness of these programs. Regularly evaluating participation rates and soliciting employee feedback ensures that wellness initiatives align with the evolving needs and preferences of your workforce. It helps reinforce a culture that prioritizes wellbeing.

Employee Absenteeism and Sick Leave:

Monitoring and reviewing data on employee absenteeism and sick leave provides valuable insights into the physical and mental health of your employees. By identifying patterns and trends, HR teams can proactively address potential underlying issues, such as excessive workloads, stress, or burnout. This data enables companies to develop targeted interventions and support systems, promoting a healthy work-life balance and reducing the negative impact of absenteeism on productivity and morale.

Diversity and Inclusion Metrics:

Inclusion and diversity are integral components of a thriving culture of wellbeing. HR teams should measure metrics related to diversity representation, equal opportunity practices, and inclusivity initiatives. Tracking data on employee demographics, pay equity, and promotion rates provides valuable information on the progress and effectiveness of your diversity and inclusion strategies. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace fosters a sense of belonging and psychological safety. These are vital for employee wellbeing and overall company success.

Employee Feedback and Surveys:

Regularly seeking employee feedback through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions is a powerful tool for understanding the pulse of your company. HR teams should measure metrics related to employee satisfaction, happiness, and overall wellbeing. This data provides actionable insights for improving policies, procedures, and the work environment. By actively listening to employee feedback, companies demonstrate a commitment to their workforce’s wellbeing. They create an open and transparent culture that values employee input.

Measuring the right HR metrics is instrumental in creating a culture of wellbeing within your company. By tracking employee engagement, wellness program participation, absenteeism, diversity and inclusion, and employee feedback, HR teams can gain valuable insights into the overall health and satisfaction of their workforce. These metrics enable companies to proactively address areas of improvement. Also aiding implement targeted interventions, and creating a supportive work environment that fosters employee wellbeing. Investing in these measurements not only leads to enhanced productivity and employee retention.  But it also reflects a commitment to the holistic success and happiness of your most valuable asset—your employees.

Are you tracking the right data for your company and what is it telling you? Perhaps you outsource HR. in which case, who is doing this role and do you have the right metrics in place? As companies grow organically, these elements can often be missing.  Would you like to discover what your metrics are telling you and how you can improve your company’s competitive advantage? Sign up for a Real Resilience Audit.

Want to know more? book a 30-minute discussion with our MD.



Celebrating Diversity

In a world where diversity is celebrated, it is essential to understand and appreciate the various personality traits that make individuals unique. Four common terms used to describe personality types are introvert, extrovert, ambivert, and shy. While these labels are often used interchangeably, they each represent distinct characteristics. In this blog, we will explore the differences between introverts, extroverts, ambiverts, and shy individuals. Furthermore, we will provide valuable hints and tips to foster inclusivity and promote a more understanding environment for everyone.

Have you ever worked in a team where the boss says, “Well you just need to be more…..”. I am sure most of us can think of an example.  Is your workplace more biased toward extroverts and ambiverts? So many people confuse introverts and shy for example. Do you really understand the different terms? How can you make your team more inclusive and benefit everyone? How can you embrace diversity?


Introverts are individuals who draw energy from within themselves. They tend to feel recharged through solitary activities and introspection. Introverts may prefer smaller, intimate gatherings and often engage in deep, meaningful conversations rather than small talk. They are generally more reflective, thoughtful, and reserved. While they may appear quiet or reserved, introverts possess valuable insights and strengths that are worth appreciating.

Tips for inclusivity:

a) Create quiet spaces: Recognize that introverts thrive in environments where they can find solace and recharge. Providing quiet areas or designated spaces for introspection can greatly benefit introverted individuals.

b) Encourage written communication: Introverts often excel in expressing themselves through writing. Encouraging written communication channels such as emails or online forums can help them contribute and feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts.


Extroverts, on the other hand, are energized by social interactions and external stimuli. They thrive in lively environments and gain energy from being around others. Extroverts typically enjoy engaging in group activities, initiating conversations, and networking. Their outgoing nature often helps them connect with people easily and fosters a sense of enthusiasm.

Tips for inclusivity: a) Allow for group interactions: Extroverts feel most comfortable when interacting with others. Providing opportunities for group discussions or team activities can help them contribute and showcase their strengths. b) Be an active listener: Show genuine interest when extroverts share their experiences and stories. Engage in conversations and encourage their participation in group settings, making them feel valued and heard.


Ambiverts fall in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum and possess a balance of traits from both ends. They are comfortable in social situations but also appreciate alone time for introspection. Ambiverts may exhibit extroverted tendencies in certain scenarios and introverted tendencies in others. Their flexibility allows them to adapt to a variety of social dynamics.

Tips for inclusivity:

a) Offer options: Recognize that ambiverts may have varying preferences depending on the situation. Providing them with choices, such as participating in group activities or opting for individual tasks, allows them to navigate their energy levels more effectively.

b) Practice active observation: Pay attention to cues that indicate whether an ambivert is seeking solitude or social interaction. By understanding their subtle signals, you can create an environment that respects their needs and preferences.

Shy Individuals:

I always thought I was an introvert until I started learning about psychometric profiling. I learned that I am actually strongly extroverted in many circumstances, but actually, I am also quite shy.

Shyness is not synonymous with introversion, extroversion, or ambiversion. Shy individuals experience social anxiety and discomfort in social interactions, often leading to hesitation or withdrawal. Shyness is a personality trait that can affect people across the introvert-extrovert spectrum. It is important to remember that shyness is not a flaw but rather a personal characteristic.

Tips for inclusivity:

a) Foster a supportive environment: Encourage a nurturing and understanding atmosphere where shy individuals feel safe to express themselves at their own pace. Avoid putting them on the spot or pressuring them to participate in situations that cause significant distress.

b) Small group interactions: Provide opportunities

The key to any environment is to embrace diversity and be as inclusive as possible. Understanding these different personality traits is key to improving relationships and communication. Giving everyone space and encouraging them to be themselves increases creativity, which in turn increases ideas. If people feel included then they want to stay working where they are. At a time when professional talent is scarce, think about how you can include everyone in your team.

Some employees are struggling with being back in the office. Quite a few companies require employees to return to the office full-time or increase the number of days. I have definitely noticed a trend so far in 2023. I know many people who are being urged to amp up their office presence. Typically, the request is for an increase of 3-4 days a week in the office.

Is the remote working trend slowly dying off? Is hybrid still an option for many? How do the employees feel about this? These are the questions that struck me as I researched whether the trend was more widespread and how employees really feel about it.

According to Business Insider, larger companies are mandating that employees need to be back in the office full-time. Many employees were so upset with the reversal of flexible working policies that they filed a petition against the changes. Others have been reported in many articles citing headlines like “Return to Work Wars”.

The Companies Mandating Employees Return to the Office (

Remote and hybrid

Remote and hybrid ways of working have a lot of benefits, such as flexible hours and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. But it can also be difficult to get work done when you’re isolated from others.

According to the CIPD “More action is needed to increase the uptake of a range of flexible working arrangements to create more inclusive, diverse and productive workplaces that suit both the needs of organisations and individuals.”

Clearly, the best practice is seen to be giving employees the option of flexible working. The CIPD is campaigning for it. Gallup poll data shows that employees are leaving if they are not getting the flexibility they want. So what is the issue with employers continuing to embrace it?

The CIPD Good Work Index points to a number of barriers to be overcome:

  • Line manager attitudes
  • Lack of senior-level support
  • Concerns about meeting operational and customer requirements
  • The nature of the work people do.

A two-tier system?

Many people moved out of cities during the pandemic, myself included. Now there is a split between those that are still local and able to travel into the office regularly, and those that are mostly remote with only the occasional trip in. Roughly once a month or less is what I see.

Is this causing a two-tier system between the employees with remote workers being more isolated and cut off from the rest of the workforce? When everyone was working from home, most employees made an effort to ensure more effective and frequent communication. Are the people back in the office forgetting to do this, now the majority of people are available for face-to-face meetings on a regular basis? The people I have spoken to report feeling more cut off from their office-based peers. They also report that they are finding it more difficult to find out information as people forget to keep them in the loop.

This situation supports neither the employee nor the organisation, so it is failing on both counts.

Why are employees struggling?

According to the latest Gallup research, six in ten employees with remote-capable jobs want a hybrid work arrangement. One-third prefer fully remote work, and less than 10% prefer to work on-site.

While some employees may be happy to return, others prefer the ability to get work done without interruptions and no commutes. For these employees, the thought of returning to the office stirs up anxiety and even dread.

The reasons for return-to-office dread are very personal and vary so much between individuals. Some are worried about losing the free time they’ve gained without a commute, the ability to pick up the kids, or throwing some laundry in the washing machine between meetings. Many found that office politics were less when home-based while others dread going back to that soul-destroying commute.

Research worldwide has many psychologists convinced that the mental and physical stress of a long commute is rarely worth it. If you have a long commute, it’s taking the place of something in your life that’s healthy. It also reduces time with your family and friends.

However, some people are actually enjoying being back, that they are back into the routine. A recent study by the BBC found that, after years of resisting, some workers are back at their desks. The secret? They don’t hate it. They are enjoying the camaraderie and the fact that you can go seek people out and sort problems quickly.

You can read more about their perspective here: The workers quietly backtracking on return-to-office – BBC Worklife

Are employees more productive in the office?

Gallup data show that spending two to three days in the office during a typical week tends to lead to the highest levels of employee engagement, and tends to reduce burnout and intentions to leave the organization. However, employees’ unique job responsibilities, as well as their team’s collaboration and customer service requirements, should be considered when determining hybrid work schedules. For instance, highly collaborative jobs requiring frequent real-time interactions often benefit from more time in the office than jobs that are done mostly independently.

A study by Forbes found that employees who work remotely are three times as likely to struggle with productivity as those who work in an office setting. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Employees struggle because they have less face-to-face interaction with their boss, which can lead to decreased motivation and increased distraction.
  • Employees who work remotely often have to rely on technology to stay connected, which can lead to less effective communication.
  • Remote workers are less likely to get feedback on their work, which can lead to frustration and a decreased level of productivity.

In order for employees to be productive in the office, they need to have a balanced routine that includes face-to-face interaction, good communication tools, and regular feedback.

What about Gen Z?

I am particularly interested to read an article about Gen Z workers and how they are starting on the back foot, in terms of understanding the work environment. Particularly the experience they gain from osmotic communication and being set up for success at work, by being co-located and learning from those around them. Some experts feel that entry-level workers are missing out on picking up vital cues that guide behaviour, collaboration, and networking. It is making fundamental work much harder to achieve. What is the etiquette and the norms? Who should you call? How should they be contacted? Are some people out of bounds? Plus a whole host of other questions they need to be answered.

The experience is leading to a whole different area of anxiety for these employees. Of course, it’s not the case that every new Gen Z worker is struggling. But for many of these inexperienced employees, virtual work settings can exacerbate new job stress.

What does the future look like?

I can see the pros and cons of both the argument for flexibility from the employee, and at the same time, the data backing up the need for regular time in the office.

Being in the office supports both the integration and productivity of the team. The sharing of osmotic communications. The passing on of tacit knowledge. The ability to be able to hash things out and spark ideas of each other.

At the same time the need to support employee mental health and wellbeing. Enabling flexibility and being a more inclusive organisation that supports everyone’s needs is critical.

I worked for years in large global, diverse organisations. That was back in the day when companies could afford to pay for employees to get together at least annually, from all around the world. There was definitely an understanding that the team-building element that this enabled was critical. However, I still managed to build lasting relationships with remote colleagues that I never met in person. It just took a lot more work.

My conclusion is that all is possible. With a lot of work. For me though, hybrid working gives the best of everything. It will enable the needs of the organisation and support the employees at the same time. At the end of the day what most people want is choice.

In a climate where finding talent is exceedingly difficult, as an employer you better start listening!

Can the four-day week work for your business?

The idea of a four-day week has been gaining traction in recent years. Many companies are considering the switch to a four-day week as a way to increase employee productivity and satisfaction. This shift could potentially have far-reaching effects on the economy, as well as on individual workers and their families.

A four-day week could lead to more free time for employees, allowing them to spend more time with family or engage in leisure activities. It could also lead to increased job satisfaction, as employees would have more control over their schedules and be able to take advantage of flexible working hours. Additionally, it could reduce stress and fatigue associated with long working hours, leading to higher levels of productivity and creativity in the workplace.

There are lots of articles in newspapers about the idea of the four-day week at the moment. This one grabbed our attention as being of particular interest as it is UK-centric and very pragmatic in its approach.

Having worked a four-day week for the last four years of my corporate career, I wanted to give my personal perspective.

What is a four-day week?

The four-day week is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate world. Many companies are finding that they can increase productivity and morale by giving employees an extra day off each week. There are a variety of different approaches to working a four-day week. Some companies offer a longer work day over four days, therefore crashing the same amount of hours into longer days, but then getting the day off every Friday for example. Other companies offer to let people work reduced hours for reduced pay. (This was what I took up in 2012). What has distinguished this latest study from all the others, is that employees have kept the same salary as if they were working their usual five-day week, but worked fewer hours.

The findings from the study

There are a few benefits of a four-day week. First, it allows employees to have more time to pursue outside interests and spend time with family. This can lead to happier and more productive employees. Additionally, it can cut down on costs associated with commuting and child care.

In the report that we attached earlier in the blog, you can see that 61 companies, involving 2900 employees, took part in the study between June and December of 2022. 56 of those companies are still continuing with the four day work week. 18 of them are making it a permanent change. Why is that? Well, over the course of the trial the companies saw an increase in productivity and performance. They also saw that stress, mental and physical health also declined, and reports of burnout declined by 71%!
According to a full report by 4 Day Work Week Global, covering the same study, 60% of the employees that took part said that they found it easier to combine work and personal responsibilities, and 62% said it benefitted their social life. Employee resignations dropped by 57%, and the companies themselves saw increased revenue by 35%.
However, it stated that one or two companies did have concerns about an increasing workload. Some employees would be working longer hours into the evenings to get tasks finished on time. Also there were concerns of the workplace becoming less convivial, saying that unstructured conversations surrounding ideas in creative companies were declining. One employee stated that socialising at work has lessened, and interrupting colleagues is “taboo” now. But managerial employees are said to be paying full attention to this and perhaps pairing the shorter work week with designated team days. This goes to show that companies really are focusing on the importance of job quality while creating a better work-life balance.

Is a four-day week the right approach for your business?

There are a few things to consider before making the switch. First, think about the type of business you have and whether or not a four-day week would be feasible. For example, if you have a retail business, you’ll need to be open five to seven days a week to meet customer demand, so would you need more employees to cover? However, if you have an office-based business, a four-day week might be a possibility.

Next, consider your employees and whether or not they would be on board with a four-day week. If you have employees with young children, a four-day week might be a great way to help them balance their work and home life. However, if you have employees who rely on a five-day week to make ends meet, a four-day week might not be ideal, if it will be at 80% of the current salary. If you are offering reduced hours and the current salary then this will not be an issue.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether or not the four-day week is right for your business. It’s important to weigh all of the factors before making a decision.

Just remember that all of this should be discussed with all employees. Employees need to feel part of the discussion and help co-create the way forward. This helps them feel part of the processes, rather than the process being done to them. They are also likely to think of things that management have overlooked. Communicate at all levels and keep communicating. Have a trial period and communicate and review.

A personal perspective

It is actually nothing new. I was working a four-day week in 2012. I have to say my experience was very similar to the experience of those people that are currently part of the experiment. While I was not lucky enough to keep my salary as many people are being offered now, I was lucky enough that my remuneration and holiday entitlement were still within very comfortable limits. Plus the health benefits far outweighed the loss in salary.
It was amazing the difference a day made. it does not seem like just an extra day added to the weekend would make such a massive difference, but it really, really did. That extra day to myself, doing chores, and getting some washing done, was all time well used, so then when it came to the weekend, and friends and family were also free, i did not have to carve out any of my time to do chores, I was already up to date and was able to have quality time with them.

Stress levels dropped drastically

I found that my stress levels dropped massively, and I no longer dreaded Mondays because felt like I had had enough time to properly relax and destress. I ate better because I had more time to plan and prepare. Exercise was easier because I had more time. Hobbies were back on the agenda and other things that give me lots of joy.
When I was at work I was happier, and therefore better able to focus. I was also more productive. There is nothing quite like a busy person with less time, to get a laser focus and get a job done quickly.
It took a little while for other employees to respect the time off, but as four-day weeks gained in popularity, they quickly understood the need to respect people’s time. I think times have moved on since then too and everyone respects that there is an overarching need for flexibility where possible.

I recommend it

Based on my experience and that of those I worked with, I would say it is totally worth it. I am sure, as the studies have shown, that I was more productive in four days than I was in five. There was flexibility on both sides and a lot of much happier employees that managed stress levels a lot better. A win-win in my opinion.

Has the workplace become a melting pot? It’s all about diversity?

With recent headlines around the gender pay gap and women in the workforce dominating the news, it’s easy for companies to try a one-size fits all recruitment approach to fill gaps quickly. But, diversity is much more than hiring individuals from a specific demographic or ethnic background. Often the mistake businesses make is encouraging management to hire from specific groups in order to tick the ‘right’ boxes, which can lead unhappy staff as inclusion needs to be a part of the company culture not just the hiring process.

One of the biggest challenges facing companies today is how to create an environment that is open and values equal participation so people thrive rather than just be present each day. Create a culture where people can feel they are truly valued and respected.  Individuals are like an ionion, many layered. We have got to make sure companies create processes to understand, welcome, respect and value differences.

When reviewing diversity and inclusion processes, there is no quick fix or shortcut. People may feel threatened with change. Changes is processes and proceedures will be necessary.. But if a business is truly committed to it, then absolutely it can be done.

A few key pieces of advice for employers about how to incorporate and create a diverse workplace.

People like businesses are unique, so the hiring process should be too. Diversity is key!

Usually hiring is need driven; someone has resigned and as a result the role needs to be filled as soon as possible, which means the same job advert is used.

It is important to ask the following questions:

  • Do we really need that level of education?
  • Can we offer flexible working?
  • Do they have to be able to do certain key parts of the role?
  • What’s our interview process?
  • Is it the same panel each time – is there any representation?

Value proposition – the advertising message and its appeal

It is very much about creating a process that is more about equity than equality – not discounting any group or individual to make sure that we’re all actually at the same starting point. If a company is inclusive, they would want to attract everybody and not only look at getting women back into the workplace or increasing the number of Black, Asian minority, Ethnics (BAME) candidates into their company. The message should be that they want the best person for the role and recognising that they might have to male themselves attractive to individuals in order to want them to come and work for the company.

Onboard and retain staff

It is important that companies spend time to make their onboarding process inclusive. Employees want to know what it will be like going forward once they have joined the company.  They will want to know if there is a real culture of inclusion. Ensure there is follow on from appointment through to onboarding. This could lead to retaining employees, as a culture is created where everyone feels valued.

Valuing diversity

At times, companies struggle to get a number of diverse candidates to apply for their jobs.  This links back to the messaging – Companies need to remember that every potential future employee is researching them before they even apply. Potential staff can quickly tell if you are being authentic or if it’s just another token gesture. What message as a company are you putting out on social media?