London startup marks first anniversary with four-day week trial

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo
Upgrade Pack

Upgrade Pack, which earlier this year achieved £1 million in pre-seed funding, will test out a four-day work week for its staff, according to Employee Benefits.

The 24 employees of Richmond-based Upgrade Pack, which provides loyalty and upgrade schemes for businesses and individuals, will trial a 38-hour week split across four days. This means working only around two hours less per week, but getting a whole day to themselves.

Staff will be required to work an extra 90 minutes per day, but the decision whether to start early, finish late, or split it down the middle is going to be left to their discretion. There will be no salary change or reduction in lunch hours and breaks.

While most employees will now be working Monday to Friday, with official office closure on Fridays, there is still the chance to schedule urgent work for Friday, and take the time back from the other days of the week.

The benefits of working four days

Earlier in the year, a study showed that a four-day work week led to boosted productivity and reduced stress. A pioneer of the strategy reported a 20% rise in productivity, and campaigners across the world have begun advocating for it.

Upgrade Pack is hoping to support its team's work/life balance, at the same time as reducing time taken for sickness, increasing productivity, and limiting its total carbon footprint - since commuting time will be down. It already gives workers three weeks' permission to work from elsewhere, so they can travel or volunteer without using annual leave. 

Craig Unsworth, chief executive officer at Upgrade Pack, said: “Employee wellbeing is one of the fundamental values on which Upgrade Pack was founded. As we continue to grow as a business, we want to make sure our employees have a healthy balance between work and life.

“Our new four-day week will not only further foster an already vibrant company culture, it will give us the best possible chance of retaining our talented team.”

The trial will end after 10 weeks, in August. Upgrade Pack will run a survey later in the period to get employees' feedback and see if clients have any concerns.