Nearly a quarter of DSC staff report improved mental wellbeing after four-day week

05 Aug 2022 News

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Nearly a quarter of staff at the Directory of Social Change (DSC) have said their mental wellbeing has improved after the charity moved to a four-day week.

DSC implemented a four-day working week last year in response to the “unprecedented pressures” brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.   

An internal survey conducted in November 2021 shows that 24% of respondents reported that their mental health wellbeing had improved since having three-day weekends and working from home. 

DSC introduced truncated working for its staff in April 2021 after 70% of its employees had been furloughed for three months, leaving a “small skeleton crew trying to keep things going”. 

Under the initiative, the charity’s 33 employees work 35 hours over four consecutive days, with teams either working from Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday. This is so the charity can continue to support its beneficiaries throughout the week. 

Despite working longer days, staff have reported feeling happier and more productive at work. 

Increase in productivity and mental wellbeing

Harry Wrafter, executive office manager at DSC, said the charity changed its working patterns to ensure staff would be “getting regular breaks from the unprecedented stress of the pandemic”. 

He said: “Our goal was to make sure people got a long break over the weekend and came back feeling rested and recharged every week. 

“Our staff are really happy. Having an extra day weekend makes so much difference to their overall happiness and motivation. When they come back to work, they feel so much more rested, ready for the week. Productivity has definitely gone up all over the organisation. It’s been a real success because it’s just made so much more flexibility into our working patterns.”

Wrafter added that there were some “teething problems” at first, including staff not knowing who would be in on what days, but that these issues have now been addressed. 

One member of staff said: “A four-day work week works better. It’s nice to have the extra day with family and to take care of household needs. I return to work feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the work week.”

Another commented: “More consecutive rest days promoted mental wellbeing; there also seemed to be more time and headspace to deal with tasks needed in daily life and running a home (kids, cleaning, bills, maintenance, DIY, and physical exercise).” 

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