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Lawtech business gives staff Fridays off… forever

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Could law firms follow?

A lawtech business has taken the somewhat unusual step of giving every member of staff Fridays off — permanently.

Arken.legal, which produces will writing software for the private client sector, has introduced a four-day working week for full-time employees following a successful nine-month trial.

The Kent-based outfit says the reduction in working days led to an increase in productivity and efficiency, improvements in job satisfaction and a better work-life balance for staff. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the business also reports that 85% of employees say the drop in days has increased the time they are likely to stick around in their roles.

Staff are free to spend their Fridays as they wish, and while some do catch-up on work, Arken.legal says most use it to spend more time with family, enjoy a long weekend away or attend a firm-run yoga session.

Interestingly, the business said none of its clients had even realised that staff were working a four-day week, “proving outputs were maintained despite the reduced hours”.

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Commenting on the permanent four-day switch, one Arken.legal employee said:

“I manage to get all my admin and chores done, so it doesn’t eat into family time on weekends. I also have the ability to do any extra work if needed but at my own time, with no interruptions. Essentially it is a ‘me’ day that allows me to use the time as I feel I need to — that can be getting admin done or just chilling out.”

The news comes just weeks after the world’s largest ever trial of a four-day working week in Iceland was trumpeted as an “overwhelming success” by researchers.

Over 2,500 workers of the country’s workers took part in the pilot which reduced a 40 hour week to a 35 or 36 hour week, with no reduction in overall pay. Those who took part reported an improvement in their health and work-life balance, as well as feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout.

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5 Comments

No.

No.

(3)(19)

Don't stop fighting

Yes!

Both wellbeing and productivity increases with the 4-day work week. None of Arken’s clients “had even realised that staff were working a four-day week.” This is a win-win for both clients and lawyers. There is no excuse not to do this.

If law firms really profess to care about the wellbeing and lives of their lawyers, then they MUST do this. The benefits overwhelmingly outweigh the costs.

(41)(1)

Chorlton

Sounds great, but law firms are only paying lip service to mental health with schemes that cost them nothing or very little (mental health first aiders at my firm, unpaid role with training conducted in the volunteer’s own time or emails with links provided to free online mental heath tools). Money talks and chargeable hours will always trump any faux concern ‘production line’ law firms have as to their staff’s wellbeing.

(29)(0)

An in-house lawyer

Also – what about us people who do 35 hours over 5 days anyway? All this scheme is doing is reducing a 40 hour week to a 36 hour week over 4 days – so 9 hours of work every day…? I didn’t leave the law firms and move in-house to go back to doing 9+ hours a day in the office!

(2)(1)

FIRE Hopeful

The 40 to 36 hour work week was from the Iceland experiment. There’s no indication that Arken did anything similar, at least not from this article.

(0)(0)

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