Is it time to make flexible working the norm?

There has been a lot of discussion about the four-day week in the media, as it is increasingly attractive to employees wanting greater flexibility and workplaces seeking to navigate the “Great Resignation”. According to research commissioned by Tyto client ClickUp, almost a fifth of 35- to 44-year-olds in the United Kingdom are prepared to quit their job this year to find a new role that offers it, while another 16% plan to ask their current employer for a four-day work week in 2022. 

We are proud of our innovative, location-agnostic model, which means our employees can work from any location of their choosing. Our mindful approach to our work is essential to our business, and this is why, at Tyto, we encourage our employees to find a work formula that suits them, an approach which takes their personal needs into account. Given this outlook, some of them have chosen alternative work arrangements such as a 4-day week or a reduced schedule.  

It seems especially relevant to us, in a hyperconnected world with so many possibilities, to start considering work as an adaptable element of our lives and not the other way around.  The pandemic also highlighted the evident need to prioritise ourselves and our loved ones and so, we have asked our employees to explain what this flexibility has offered for them, and their personal experiences too.  Let’s see the results.  


Flexible working

From left to right: Florian, Noëlle, Luke, Silke and Dave.

Why have you decided to work a 4-day week or reduced hours?  

Luke Graham (Senior Features Editor): When my wife became pregnant, I knew I wanted to be as involved in my daughter’s life as possible. I hated the idea of being the stereotypical distant dad who left all the childcare responsibilities to mum. So when my wife returned to work after maternity leave, we agreed to both reduce our working hours so we could each spend a weekday looking after Emma, rather than send her to two extra days of nursery. Childcare fees in the UK are so high that if I worked five days instead of four, and paid for an extra day of nursery, we’d only be £80 better off a month. I’d much rather spend that time with my daughter. 

Dave Turnbull (Partner, Creative Planning): I don’t know about anybody else but, as I get older, time seems to evaporate at an alarmingly quick rate. I started to feel this most strongly during my free time with the weekends over in the blink of an eye and my hobbies, interests and personal development increasingly ignored. I also had some projects in mind that I wanted to invest time into that brought the issue into sharper focus for me. Tyto is incredibly flexible in how the team can work, so I had the freedom to give serious thought to this and ultimately take a very direct route to tackle it.  

Noëlle Bölling (Senior Consultant, Content specialist): At the end of 2020, I had a tough time. I was trying to balance my job at Tyto with my work as a freelance editor for t3n, while in the context of the pandemic I was forced to spend the whole day in one single room together with my boyfriend. In short, I was not well at all and desperately needed more time to recharge my batteries. When Tyto made it possible for me to reduce my working days, a huge weight fell off my shoulders. I finally had more time to focus more on myself and my various projects.

What do you do in this free time? 

Dave: The first thing I did was book a Spanish tutor to help me learn the language. I’ve been living in Spain for almost two years now, and I wanted to get to the next level as quickly as possible. I tend to sandwich the Spanish lessons with a bike ride along the beach in the morning and a game of padel – a sport I only recently learnt existed but quickly became obsessed with – in the evening. Heaven.  

Luke: I spend the day bonding with my daughter, like taking her to the beach, going for a walk in the woods, feeding the ducks, or visiting a library (though sometimes I do run out of ideas and energy, so just let her watch Disney+). I also use the time to complete chores around the house or pick stuff up from the shops. I like to use the extra time to make an exciting meal for dinner, like enchiladas or curry. 

Has flexible working had any effect on your productivity? 

Florian Hohenauer (Senior Partner & Head of Strategy): I have to say that I did struggle switching from five to four days at the beginning. I did not make any changes to the way I previously worked and ended up trying to squeeze the amount of work of a 100% job into an 80% one. I had to learn to say “no” more often, not get side-tracked by projects I was not an essential part of or join meetings where I neither created much value nor got some out of it. My four days are still packed, but I like to think that my focus is much sharper, and my productivity has gone up. 

Silke Rossman (Partner & Head of Practice): I actually feel more productive. Before having a baby, it always felt OK to finish something later in the evening for example and in exchange have an additional coffee or two in the afternoon. Now, I am trying to finish on time so that I can spend as much time as possible with my little one. 

Noëlle: When I was still working full time, I often found it difficult to concentrate or to keep track of the abundance of tasks – despite the well-structured to-do list I made for myself every day. Today, both things are easier for me because on Monday the end of the week is in sight. I know that my time is limited and precious, so I can approach each task with motivation and master it quickly and successfully.  

Are there any challenges to consider? 

Florian: After organising for a four-day-week instead of a five-day-week, I feel very much in control of reaching my objectives and don’t think my client work, exchanges with colleagues or anything else is suffering. Even having multiple people out of “office” each Friday has not caused any issues for the agency. I don’t want to be without this work model in my life again and can only recommend it to anyone.  

To summarise this last part, all of our employees agree: there is no challenge to the 4-day work week. As several countries in Europe and around the world opt for this model, we feel it is important to point out the benefits that this reduction in working hours has brought to the employees who have opted for it. In all cases, they have reported an increase in productivity. But more importantly, they have been able to prioritise their well-being and that of their loved ones. At Tyto, we are proud to be at the forefront of this innovation and provide our team with a personalised work formula that helps them to be the best they can be. 

If you think our approach resonates with you and you would like to be part of our team, do visit our careers page.