Report on Working Four Day Weeks at My Law Firm
For the past month I was on mental pins and needles wondering how the 4 day work weeks at my law firm are going to turn out. All of me, including my heart and ego wanted this to be a success.
In the past month, I interviewed our staff and lawyers, got them to fill out surveys, monitored billings and collections, and analyzed the data. I compared everything to when we were working 5 days a week, and I must say the results are astonishing.
Let’s see the findings:
Billings for 4 day weeks vs. 5 day weeks at YLaw
I was encouraging our lawyers to try and achieve the same targets they did when they worked 5 days a week, but I was astonished when I looked at the data. Our lawyers billed an average of 13% more working 4 days a week versus 5 days a week!
My target was to be OK with a reduction of 5%, but we got an increase of 13% in billable targets! Reasons I can think of for this are:
- We are not exhausted so we work harder and are more productive;
- Almost no one wants to go back to 5 day work weeks so we want to make this a success;
- We are more focused and do not procrastinate on the days we work;
Profits for 4 day weeks vs. 5 day weeks
Not surprisingly, this was also astonishing. Our net profits grew by 12% working 4 days instead of 5 days a week! I was expecting profits to go down by 5% to 10% but the reverse happened.
Report from Lawyers and Staff on Our Initiative
I got our employees to fill out surveys at the end of March (towards the end of the first month of trying 4 day weeks), here are some questions and answers:
Rate working 4 days a week
Almost 100% of all staff and lawyers gave it a 5 star!
Name 3 things you like about working 4 days a week:
Some answers included:
Having the one day off in the middle of the week allows for a much needed recharge which allows for me to focus and have a lot more energy on the days I am working.
I have more energy – emotional, mental and physical – working 1 day less in the middle of the week. I am able to spend more time with my children. I am able to accomplish things that I otherwise don’t have time to do which has been life giving.
Balance, being able to do errands, and anxiety
Name Three Things you do NOT like about working 4 day weeks
Over 80% of those surveyed said there was nothing they didn’t like about working 4 day weeks. Some of the other answers included:
Sometimes my days feel a little more overwhelming but I think managing that will come with time.
Time management – still adjusting the work flow.
Filing application records and working around court deadlines with the new schedule is the only difficult thing to manage at this time.
How do you feel emotionally compared to when you worked 5 days a week?
I like to think better. Managing my stress levels seem to be a little easier.
Great. Refreshed. Happy to tackle a mountain of emails.
Much better, after the first week I actually significantly reduced my drinking
I am happier with the 4 day week as it gives me more energy on the days when I am at work.
Do you have any concerns regarding other lawyers and staff given this schedule? have you encountered issues?
Over 90% of all surveyed said transition was seamless and they didn’t experience issues. Other answered included concerns about emailed going unanswered on the day-off.
So far, I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. I think 4 day work weeks are our future because they make human sense and as long as we give them a chance, they may just prove to be a win-win for all involved.
I will update everyone after 3 months and let you know if we will make this permanent for YLaw.
Written by Leena Yousefi, April 8, 2021.