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Giving Hump Day the heave-ho

LIFESTYLE

Forget four-day weeks, no-work Wednesdays is the latest workplace experiment to be trialled by employers. One of the first companies to adopt the idea is the Australian digital agency, Versa. As the ABC reports, “The concept is brutally simple. On Wednesdays at Versa there are no client meetings, no deliveries, no pitches to clients and no expectation of checking emails.” 


Rather than working the traditional five-day week, staff at the Melbourne-based tech company work 37.5 hours over four days. After a 12-month trial the results proved pleasantly surprising. "We are three times more profitable than we were last year,” said Versa CEO Kathryn Blackham. “We have grown by 30 or 40 percent in the last year in terms of revenue, and we have happier staff who are much more productive. So all of the factors you would have thought would have gone down because we're working 20 percent less, actually we've seen them increase dramatically.”


The success of the concept has caught the attention of businesses elsewhere. After Blackham delivered a presentation to UK supermarket chain Morrison’s, management also considered introducing no-work Wednesdays for its staff. However, as Blackham explained: "They were going to do it for the office staff, but not the leadership team. I told them straight out, 'That's not going to work'. Because if the leadership team are [present] it just cascades down from there." As for Versa’s staff, Blackham said they heartily approve of the mid-week break as it allows them to unwind and rejuvenate. “By the time we get to Thursday it's like a Monday again,” said Blackham. “You get a new feeling of enthusiasm and cracking on with work.”

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