WonderEight communications – which is based in Dubai, Beirut and Saudi Arabia – is offering staff a four-day work week to entice workers seeking a better work-life balance.
Walid Nasrala, co-founding creative director of the agency, said when businesses offer flexible schedules, they see an increase in productivity.
"Although it would be early to tell from our own short experience of six months if the four-day week model is the way forward for other companies in the sector, we can say it has had a positive outlook," he said. "We have noticed during this period not only that our productivity has increased, but more importantly the quality of our work is enhanced.
"These are some of the positive consequences of a healthy work-life balance which is something everybody should strive for, not only in our sector and in our region, but worldwide."
Nasrala said each industry and each market culture will have to figure out its own practical way, but the aim is the same - to improve the wellbeing of people within any organisation.
"Evidently we’re living in a time where technology and the ease of communication has put us on a kind of hamster wheel with a dynamo stuck on fast drive," he said. "People should take control of their life without having to get out of the system or be marginalised.
"The system as a whole should be reworked and societies must work together to evolve it because with the fashion we’re working in, even eight days a week won’t be enough.
"So we’re noticing more individuals dropping off, requisitioning their career and facing the reality of having to work things out by themselves because they can’t find the answer in outdated systems which are not adapted to the times."
There are different ways of delivering on the promise of a four-day work week. Some companies have employees work 10-hour days, while others shorten the number of hours worked each week to 32. Some schedules involve eight nine-hour days and one eight-hour day, with every other Friday off.
"The way to achieve a four-day week schedule is to rethink the internal processes of a given organisation and figure out the shortest communication routes which will lead to a better efficiency. This will result in shorter time to achieve the same things and in most cases a better quality," said Nasrala.
"Of course, most human reflex will be to use this extra time to do more of the same thing, but here’s the secret, we shouldn’t.
"This extra time should be utilised to do 'nothing'. It is specifically from this 'doing nothing' that come out our focus and energy when we get back to the task.
"I believe there’s still a lot to be explored and tested and companies who have the possibility to consider a four-day schedule should actively try to, but we all definitely need to evolve with one focus in mind, our wellbeing."
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