Independent agency Deepend today reports a 46% growth in revenue since implementing the agency’s flexible four-day working week agreement for all staff back on July 1 2018. As the first Australian agency to offer a four-day working week, Deepend was also awarded Employer of the Year at last week’s AdNews Agency of the Year Awards.
In a wider industry environment that is shifting towards greater emphasis on employee flexibility and remote working, Deepend has long understood and championed the philosophy that staff satisfaction is key to driving productivity. The four-day week at Deepend is simple. The office is closed every Wednesday so there are no client or internal meetings on that day. Staff can choose to either work longer days on other days and have Wednesday completely off or work from home on a Wednesday and fit the day around what else they have on. This is a milestone in Deepend’s ongoing commitment to flexibility.
Says Deepend founder and director Kath Blackham: “Our culture at Deepend is special and something we want to protect and grow, we strongly believe in valuing and nurturing our talent. We recognise that our staff work hard in very demanding and high-pressure roles, the truth is we all need flexibility to manage our complex lives and commitments. I’m surprised and proud that Deepend is the first agency to offer this arrangement. I’m confident others will follow our example once they observe the benefits.”
The working model that Deepend has implemented allows staff to choose a schedule that is suitable to their own lives, while maintaining direct and effective client relationships. The strategic implications of the change hold huge potential. Recent studies in New Zealand and the US suggest productivity actually increases when staff are granted the freedom to be flexible. Employees feel more empowered, engaged and stimulated at work. Freedom and trust contribute to pride in the agency, and to a generally healthier agency culture.
There are clearly wider benefits to agile working patterns for society, and it’s an international trend that is rapidly growing. A four-day week means twenty percent of commuter traffic is removed, placing less demand on transport infrastructure and reducing pollution. The flexibility can also help address the gender pay gap, since many working parents already make compromises on salary versus time.
Jonny Clow, Deepend managing director, feels the four-day week is an obvious move: “Frankly, I think this is the future of work, now. The success we’re seeing from a business perspective is already evident. Unsurprisingly, our staff have universally embraced the philosophy. Talent and creativity need respect and protection. Stress and burnout are always a threat. This is about allowing our staff to continue to deliver the highest standard of work possible for our clients.”