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5 Hours a day, 4 days a week: Part 2

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The somewhat different article. 

In Part 1, we introduced you to various models for organizing working hours. Also the new possibilities, such as the 5-hour day or the 2 models around the 4-day week. A lot is happening when you look at the job market. And not least because of the shortage of skilled workers, employers are increasingly in the position of having to offer employees something. The classic fruit basket is no longer enough, because a real work-life balance is not only desired, but actively demanded. Let's take a look at the changes that took place at Flanke 7 in 2023.

Eight to thirteen - the new 9-to-5 

Interesting headline, you might think. But it describes exactly what we changed at Flanke 7 last year: We made a radical cut from the classic 40-hour week and reduced the weekly working hours for the entire team to 25 hours, or 5 hours a day. 
⁠So we are another agency that has introduced the 5-hour day. It was more of an experiment at the beginning, but after three quarters of a year it has now become part of everyday life. 

What does that mean exactly? Are you only there for your clients between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.? 

No, it doesn't mean that, because the customer's wishes and needs always come first, even if it's after 1 pm. If a customer is only available in the afternoon, the meeting is scheduled for that time. If a customer calls in the afternoon - of course the time is taken. If the work is not finished by 1 p.m., but the deadline is approaching - well then you carry on and everyone in the team is responsible for moving the projects forward.
⁠As an employer, Flanke 7 has therefore scored quite a few plus points, as there are very few companies that offer this kind of freedom. The number of applications for open positions in the past year has shown that many people are interested - and we as an agency therefore had a greater choice of candidates. 
⁠We also discussed this in our podcast. So if you know and have listened to it, this article is nothing new for you 😉

Why did we introduce the 5-hour-day? 

There are several aspects and reasons for this, not least because of its attractiveness as an employer. But also due to a certain curiosity as to whether it could work. 
⁠For us as an agency, the main reason for the decision was to do something good for the team (the existing team at the time). Based on the hypothesis that employees can't be productive for 8 hours a day either way. Because nobody can or wants to concentrate for 8 hours a day. So why not allow more free time if productivity remains the same or even increases? That was the idea behind the start of the experiment. 
⁠In addition, there are already one or two companies that have successfully implemented such a change. Then we can do it too, can't we?

Agencies that have introduced the 5-hour day, for example, have also found that the team or teams take more time for each other after work - which has helped to strengthen the culture overall. Even if we as a team really have a strong culture and enjoy working together, that can never hurt, of course. 

And last but not least, a hypothesis - an experience of others - led to this decision. Companies with working time models such as the 5-hour day or a 4-day week have found that employee productivity has actually increased, even though there is less time available. The reason: work is more concentrated and focused precisely because there is less time available. 

For us as an agency, there were many reasons, but the implementation went faster than expected and this is exactly what we are now coming to and our experiences.

Our experiences 

Our 3 managing directors sat together one fine day and discussed the idea of the 5h day, because there was a book - about the 5h day - that they had read and thought: we can do that too. Simply out of the motivation that the F7 team comes first. 
⁠Then there was a discussion in the podcast about whether it was feasible, possible and sensible. This is followed by a meeting with the entire team to find out what the attitude is and whether the team can imagine it. After all, nothing works at Flank 7 without the team on board. Rules were laid down together so that it was clear how to deal with distractions and the like. 

And then: a few days later, on a Monday, the experiment got underway. On a Monday in May 2023. Hallelujah, what a step! With tingling stomachs and motivation that could blow the roofs off, the whole team hit the starting blocks on Monday morning. 

The first few days and weeks were bumpy, as we all tried to keep meetings as short as possible so as not to steal time from others. We didn't have to learn how to prioritize correctly and efficiently in discussions with others from scratch, but we did have to improve. And we didn't want to miss out on having fun with the others. 

It took a while for us to settle in, but after a while we realized that it was feasible if we concentrated on working for 5 hours. There was no noticeable increase in productivity in the early days, but at least everything was maintained.

Now, after around nine months, we can say that it was the right decision for the agency. The motivation of the team has remained the same and productivity has also improved in the same time. 

Of course, there are days when it's just a little more than 5 hours - but we haven't returned to 40 hours a week and it's working well for us as an agency.

What the team says 

This is probably clear to most people, because the 5-hour day already changes the basic mood with regard to work and boosts motivation. But of course we asked the team about it and would like to share a few quotes with you. 

"For me, the 5-hour day is the epitome of work-life balance. Many companies promise work-life balance, but in reality it's often work-work balance, so I'm all the more pleased that Flanke 7 has made the 5-hour day a reality."
"The 5-hour day has changed my life. The quality of life has increased immeasurably. I'm hardly sick any more, my stress level has dropped and the joy of work has increased significantly. The appreciation and trust from F7 means you automatically give more back = win-win, I'd say 🙂"
"Thanks to the 5h day, I have managed to revive healthy routines after work, e.g. walks in daylight, home workouts and old and new hobbies such as reading books, which I often lacked the energy for after an 8h day."
"The 5-hour day motivates me and makes me roll up to my desk in my office chair and open my Macbook in a good mood every morning."
"The 5-hour day: more motivated and focused during work and at the end of the (working) day there is more time for me and my dogs, with whom I now spend at least 1 hour in the forest almost every day and have rediscovered my inner nature boy. The bottom line: it's great."

Thank you very much for your feedback and for allowing us to quote you. It's clear how the team feels about the 5h day 😀


A somewhat different kind of article - or not, it all depends on your point of view. We are delighted that we have taken this step and we are pleased that we can also act as a pioneer and perhaps even a role model here. 
⁠Even though we have all worked with 9-to-5 for a long time, that doesn't mean that you can't change and develop. Always within the scope of your own possibilities and ideas and also: together with your own employees. 

If you have any questions, just get in touch. If you want to read more about us, just hop over to the F7 blog.

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