November 14, 2023
The concept of a 4 day workweek has been at the forefront of labour discussions in recent years. Learn how IMD Solicitors trialed (and successfully implemented) a 4 day work week and how this could spread in the legal profession.

Overview Of The IMD Solicitors Trial

In November of last year, IMD solicitors implemented a 4 day workweek for one of their teams. The trial worked through employees choosing their day off during the week, ensuring that it didn’t overlap too much. They were also flexible in terms of urgent tasks, switching their non-working days if necessary.

The trial was designed to assess the impact of reduced working hours on productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention. This was so successful, they have continued it into the present, and are considering rolling it out to other teams too.

The observed benefits were an increase in overall productivity due to shorter work week, stating that they were actually regularly outperforming KPIs since the change. They also reported improved employee morale and satisfaction. In response to a potential concern, they also said that clients had not noticed the change in working hours as the level of service remained consistent.

Furthermore, they saw a marked reduction in staff turnover rate. As well as this, they also reported an increased efficiency in the completion of daily tasks.


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Pros & Cons Of Reduced Working Hours

There are multiple benefits to a 4 day workweek in the legal profession. The first is increased job satisfaction due to increased free time, as well as reduced stress levels as employees are able to balance their work and life better. 

Also, it allows a greater ability to take on additional tasks, such as pro bono work or continuing education, making more well rounded employees. It could also lead to improved relationships between employers and employees with the increased flexibility in scheduling.

However, a worry many employers have is that it could lead to a problem with decreased customer care from absences on particular days. This links with the challenge of coordinating projects and tasks over fewer days and with fewer employees on any given day. 

Also, as one of the founders of IMD solicitors also mentioned, it could actually lead to more stress for employees when trying to fit the same amount of work into shorter hours. This could lead to the loss of a competitive edge.

Wider Application Of The 4 Day Workweek

Lessons can be learned from the results of the IMD 4 day workweek trial in terms of wider application. Firstly, there must be a focus on planning ahead and scheduling tasks to ensure the 4 days are used efficiently.

It is also important to adjust expectations from clients and colleagues – although at IMD the clients didn’t notice a difference, this was due to extensive planning and must be taken into consideration. 

It is also evidently crucial to measure the success of any trial and make improvements where necessary, as it is naturally a big change and must be managed effectively to ensure the excellent results from IMD’s trial can be replicated in other, very different environments.

Iwona Durlak from IMD solicitors also prompts us to consider the fact that the 2 day weekend was also considered extremely controversial at the time of its introduction, and is now the standard and very rarely contravened.

She believes that the 4 day workweek could be received in the same way, and with other law firms such as Collective Law Solicitors and JMK Solicitors having implemented similar schemes, it seems that the change could be catching. We are yet to see if it could be widely applied across law firms due to the concerns about customer care, project coordination and increased stress, but as the 4 day workweek becomes more popular in other industries, it could certainly gain more traction amongst lawyers.


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