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How Active DMC took the plunge with a 4-day workweek

To say that the world has changed over the past two years is an understatement. Our daily lives have been disrupted in many ways, whether it’s the way we travel, how we shop, socialize, and especially, how we work. We’ve all gotten used to adapting to changes.  

So, we thought why not take control of some changes ourselves, and change the shape of our work by moving to a 4-day week? 

We have all experienced the challenges and issues that digital transformation and switching to a remote workforce has had, particularly on the security aspects of organizations. Many of us have produced content on the new ways of working and promoted different organizations’ views, but have we truly looked at them and how they might apply to our very own businesses in the Code Red network? 

At Active, we have been at the forefront of the ‘new ways of working’ narrative and have been fortunate enough to have been closely involved in the new approaches that companies are taking to work. We shifted our working week to Monday – Thursday, adding Sunday to our weekend as well.. We started evaluating the move from May 2021, holding discussions with our partners, and researching how to align with UAE labour law. Eventually, we put together the framework for a four-month trial period to begin on 1st September 2021. In January 2022, the UAE also shifted their weekend to Friday and Saturday, which aligned perfectly with our shift. 

We were initially concerned about what our clients might make of this shift – especially as our weekend is already out of phase with most of our international clients. So, it was very important that we talk things through with them first. 

As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. Our clients have always been understanding and respectful of our weekends and our team being out of office on Fridays, and this was no different. They very rarely reach out to us on Fridays unless it’s extremely urgent, or simply to share something to be looked at next week. And by the same token, while we worked on Sundays, we rarely had any urgent activity for clients enjoying their own weekends. As such, our Sundays were usually slower paced administrative days unless a major breaking news event occurred.  

 

Why shift to a shorter week?  

The primary driving factor for us was our PEOPLE – we know that in the marketing, advertising and public relations sector, people are what make an agency. We understood from the outset, the challenges involved in attracting and retaining talent in smaller independent agencies – despite there being little difference to the larger global names – and wanted Active Digital Marketing Communications to offer a compelling reason for them to seriously consider us. We are passionate about creating an exciting work environment for new talent and retain existing ones.   

Productivity is another word you will hear a great deal associated with the four-day week format. We realized that this is a medium-term goal that we wanted to achieve and that by offering our team a better work life balance they would become more energized, creative and passionate about what they do for their clients every day. 

As one of the first companies in the private sector in the United Arab Emirates to adopt a shorter four-day working week, we were delighted with the UAE Governments’ recent announcement leading the way once again internationally and taking this bold and decisive step.  

It was also very interesting to read that the UK is also dipping a toe into the idea of a shorter working week. We’ll be happy to give our clients some advice if they decide to take the plunge too. 

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