Let me preface this by saying I’ve been referred to as many names (typically rightly so), however a ‘dangerous businesswoman’? by no means. The truth is I lead the fastest growing law firm in BC. I’d by no means make a significant enterprise choice in haste or primarily based on emotion solely. So to start, please give me the advantage of the doubt.

Once I was in my second yr of working towards as a lawyer, I obtained a 30 web page knowledgeable report from my migraine specialist who beneficial I ought to work solely 4 days per week. That’s as a result of I had a number of bodily and psychological sicknesses as a result of being overworked and pressured. I went to my employer and requested them permission to permit me to work 4 days per week. They did, nevertheless it got here with a 20% lower to my pay.

By then I had by no means missed a billing goal and was the very best billing and amassing affiliate on the agency. I didn’t wish to work 4 days per week however discovered that I merely had no alternative as my physique and mind have been screaming at me to decelerate in any other case I’d have greater costs to pay.

These 3 months of working 4 days per week have been the very best months of my work life. I felt like I used to be in command of my life, I used to be happier, extra productive and extra centered. I nonetheless met and exceeded my full time billable goal and I did it with ease.

Quick ahead to eight years later, I personal my very own agency and still have a 1.5 yr outdated daughter. I work 4 days per week to have a while along with her. A pair weeks in the past whereas having a glass of wine and cooking meals, the thought crossed my thoughts: why not all of us?

 

I researched the subject obsessively and spent my evenings planning how you can implement 4 work days per week with out hurting our high quality of service to our purchasers, our worker’s pay, and naturally our profitability.

Let’s look first at why I feel 4 day work weeks for regulation corporations is a superb thought:

At the start, I seen our staff feeling exhausted each Friday after working so exhausting all week. I wished them to be ok with coming to work and expertise what I really feel once I work 4 days per week. It was nothing however the thought of constructing them happier, displaying my appreciation for his or her exhausting work, and letting them be human and have a tendency to their private lives.

However let’s face it: as enterprise house owners we take into consideration the underside line. We wish to maximize our income and cut back threat. So I perceive why some can be hesitant to even entertain the 4 day per week thought. However after a lot thought, I spotted 4 days per week work may very well show to be the identical or extra worthwhile. Right here is why:

Revenue Loss or is it?

Based mostly on my calculations and if I assumed that legal professionals would invoice proportionate to the hours they’ll work in a 4 day week, I estimate that at worst we’d lose 10% of our internet income (I’ll clarify this quantity within the subsequent weblog). That is one thing that’s simply measurable once you take a look at the variety of hours versus billable time misplaced.

What is just not clearly measurable are the long run positive aspects you’ll have by implementing this coverage. That is exactly the place most pondering of implementing this mannequin would cease and never entertain the concept. They might see a right away lack of revenue however can be unable to measure the long run positive aspects that might be set off in opposition to it that simply. However let’s see if we will measure the long run positive aspects a bit extra exactly:

Loyalty

Shedding legal professionals and employees has been the most important cash waster for me. Changing legal professionals or employees who depart for different jobs can take months. And through these months I could face lack of income within the tens if not lots of of 1000’s of {dollars}. After which need to cope with quite a few consumer complaints about how we have to do work without cost or comp them for the lawyer leaving. I can measure the loss by our earnings throughout these months. Most regulation corporations don’t instantly exchange departing staff or legal professionals. In the course of the time of substitute, a lot time and cash is wasted away at discovering a brand new one who might or might not be the best match.

Now think about when you supply your staff 4 day work weeks, most would by no means wish to lose that job and go work someplace 5 days per week. Loyalty to the enterprise in itself will cut back waste, most likely greater than the ten% of income I might doubtlessly lose. 

Quicker Enlargement

If I supplied a 4 day per week work setting at my agency versus different corporations who don’t, which agency do you suppose a great, gifted lawyer or employees would select? My probabilities of increasing and including extra legal professionals and staff would imply extra income. My charge of enlargement can be  doubtlessly, exponentially greater than the following agency.

Most legal professionals and assistants are at phases of their lives the place they’ve completed education and wish to have kids and households. Permitting them to be human, spend time with household and still have a profession is effective and irreplaceable. This needs to be the main focus of any enterprise proprietor if we wish to have a wholesome, reciprocating work setting.

The very best selections are people who make emotional and logical sense. In case you do not need each, chances are you’ll fail.

Income Probably Received’t Do Down

Most of our legal professionals are on a charge cut up pay, so that they eat what they kill. Given my very own expertise in assembly and exceeding my full time billing goal working 4 days per week, I’ve little doubt our legal professionals will proceed to fulfill their full time billable targets.

This time although, there isn’t a strain to. In the event that they exceed or meet their full time goal, that may assist them with their confidence, added earnings, and so on, nevertheless it doesn’t strain them to carry out and overwork themselves. This can be a system of reward versus punishment in case they don’t meet a full time goal. And my pals, consider me love and appreciation will convey much more productiveness and profitability than limitations, self-discipline and strain do.

The selection to work 4 days per week would give my staff autonomy, alternative, freedom to do as they see match. This may imply higher psychological well being and bodily well being for all concerned; higher work and life satisfaction.

Elevated effectivity 

Analysis has proven that most individuals are productive and truly work 2-3 hours out of their 8 hours work days. If we cut back the working days however add effectivity to the times we’re working, we will obtain the identical ends in much less time.  Legal professionals will simply be extra productive, environment friendly and centered as a result of they know the time without work is simply across the nook and the extra they invoice, the extra will earn cash.

Even for legal professionals who should not doing a charge cut up, billing extra means greater pays, extra bonuses and extra appreciation.

Employees may also be extra environment friendly in getting extra duties accomplished realizing that they’ll have a time without work. Win win up to now.

What’s 4 Day a Week Analysis Saying?

Irrespective of the place you look, 4 work day per week analysis is barely concluding vibrant outcomes:

  •  Microsoft MSFT, -0.02%  examined a four-day work week in August — and, the company said, productiveness jumped 40%.
  •  Perpetual Guardian, performed a trial examine of a 4 day work week. Not solely did staff keep the identical productiveness stage, however additionally they confirmed enhancements in job satisfaction, teamwork, work/life stability and firm loyalty. Staff additionally skilled much less stress with a lower of 45% to 38%.
  • From 2015 to 2017, Sweden performed a trial examine right into a shorter work week. Nurses at a care house labored solely 6 hours for 5 days per week. Outcomes have been largely constructive with nurses logging much less sick hours, reporting higher well being and psychological wellbeing and larger engagement as they organized 85% extra actions for sufferers of their care.

On a sunny Friday, I gathered all of our employees and legal professionals and introduced the information. I keep in mind they applauded no less than 3 instances, most individuals have been in shock. Some thrilled and a few anxious. All of us as a staff urged and mentioned insurance policies to make this work.

Some legal professionals, comparable to junior legal professionals who’re single weren’t the most important fan as a result of that is their time to make their profession and show themselves. That’s nice, the secret’s giving them a option to work 4 days per week, however not forcing them to take action. 

I’ll focus on the policies we carried out, that are extraordinarily essential to our probabilities of success within the next blog.

Written by Leena Yousefi, founding father of YLaw – February 10, 2021.