• Maddie Medina

Investing in company culture – the most important investment you’ll make

Why the 4 Day Work Week positively impacts employer and employee relationships



I’m Maddie and I work as a Marketing Manager at Creative Return. I’m a young millennial navigating this world of finance and investor marketing. I hope my blogs can help others who are just getting started in their journey through the world of investor relations and digital investor marketing.


Workplace culture is an important piece that candidates look at when applying for jobs. Dare I say that sometimes a strong and good workplace culture actually outweighs other perks such as salary or benefits.


In his episode of the Insider’s Guide to Finance – 4-Day Work Week architect Andrew Barnes provided his insights on leadership in business and how his mindset shift helped him create engaged and empowered teams.


It was a great episode that also discussed how a 4-Way Work Week structure requires a strong relationship between employer and employee.


The start of the journey

To understand Andrew’s spearheading of a 4-Day Work Week in his businesses, first, I think you need some background on him.


“I joined a bank and spent the next 20 years not enjoying banking,” Andrew said. Although he did not enjoy this job, it did take him on an interesting path.


He went from retail banking to merchant banking in London, England. After the stock market crash, he was sent to Sydney Australia, with three days' notice. He then began investment banking.


“To be honest I absolutely hated it,” Andrew shared. “I couldn’t work out why I hated my life. Then I realized it was actually my job colouring my environment. Not my environment colouring my job.”


After leaving banking, Andrew dabbled in tech entrepreneurship, did a few IPOs, bought and sold businesses. For the past ten years he has run a trust company in New Zealand and does tech, legal tech, and even agriculture on the side.


“I’m actually doing the things I love, not just the things that gave me money,” he said.


This mindset shift seemed to have changed everything for Andrew!


Leadership in Business – How do you do it?


“We talk about culture and leadership but in business we think about managing businesses and we don’t think about leadership,” Andrew said. “Not necessarily the impact and how we get the best out of people.”


The business world is often dog eat dog. Andrew wanted to move away from this type of environment.


“I often think back to 20 years ago because that was the point in time I rethought leadership in business,” he said. “What I then did was start a process called rethinking leadership.”


He then went on to say that a lot of his success came because he changed his leadership style and how he communicated.


“I started to build businesses that weren’t just a good business but were a good team with a good cohort of leaders and a strong culture.”


If you have an engaged and empowered team, you’ll get better business out of them.


How do you invest in company culture and how do you quantify it?

“Sometimes the things that you have to do in order to create a culture quite often superficially you look at those and think they won’t add to the bottom line.”


One of the biggest misconceptions about the 4-Day Work Week is that it doesn’t add value and is not a driver of corporate value.


Going back to the moment when Andrew pivoted his work style, he said he did not like the person he had become. That wasn’t a culture that could keep going… you had to step out of it.


“I came back to business a completely different person with a completely different approach,” he said. “I don’t think anybody now would tolerate the culture that was then but the world has moved a lot.”


He now finds more fulfillment and value leading people first.


“Nobody does well if the culture is one of threat or fear. People work best when they believe in what they’re doing,” Andrew said.


The collective strength is what makes the team work. Something he tries to do is never talk down or at his team but talks with them.


“I’m never going to ask them to do something I won’t do myself. That has underpinned my philosophy.”


Let’s get into the 4-day work week… and why it works!


It all came to be as Andrew was reading an article in the Economist a few years ago. The article stated that workers in Britain were productive for two and a half hours per day and Canadians productive for 90 minutes per day.


“I thought that’s really interesting. Why is this happening? What is it that’s stopping people from being productive?” he said.


This turned into deciding to give his team a day off but in exchange, Andrew would need the same output he was currently getting.


“We ran a trial and we found our empowerment and engagement scores went up 40%. We found our teamwork and cohesion scores go up too.”


Stress levels dropped 15% across the organization and productivity had gone up 25%.

The improvements were driven by productivity! The trial was run at the beginning of 2018 and was permanently implemented at the end of 2018.


“We allow the teams to work out their own schedule. Some people work four days, some people work five days but take two afternoons off.”


This flexibility allows the team to prioritize their time. Whether it be picking up their children from school, spending time with family, going to appointments and more.


The 4-Day Work Week is now second nature to their team. It does take work and there is trial and error but the potential of this work structure is amazing.


Key Takeaways:

  1. Two years, let a lone twenty years is way too long to do that you dislike.

  2. Learn from Andrew’s success. Go after the things you are passionate about and love – not just things that make money. This is not a cliche.

  3. Reimagine your working life. A 4-Day Work Week provides teams with flexibility but also keeps them productive.


Are you interested in learning more about the 4 day work week? We have not one but two episodes on the topic.


Check out Andrew and Joe’s episodes:




 


Copyright © 2021 Creative Return

Copyright © 2022 Creative Return

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