Why We Flex 4 Days a Week
Written by
Operations Director
Adam — Director

We have been working towards being a flexible workplace for a long time now. We introduced flexible hours 7 years ago and we have recently taken this all a step further — actively encouraging people to work 4 days max.

In an industry that frequently sees intense crunch as a go live date looms we make sure lunch breaks, fresh air and and holidays are prioritised, especially when we are (or just after we have been) busy. This has only benefitted the agency and thankfully I don’t think we are a rarity anymore. It’s great to see more and more people understanding that people work better when rested and valued.

I have found that as long as the boundaries and limits are clear people work smarter and really appreciate all of this, they feel valued.

Enough from me though, the team can tell you what they like about how we structure our work…

Nat — Operations Director

Non-flexible working just isn’t an option for me. I have 3 young children, a busy home and a career I love.

Coming to work at Maya was like a breath of fresh air. Honestly, a lot of agencies say they do flexible working, but they really don’t.

We are driven by a client service, deadline industry, yet our agile approach to studio planning means that we are very open and flexible. The team manages their workload over the time they have available. They decide how to prioritise their working days, and they understand their own deadlines. They hold themselves accountable.

Communication with clients is clear. It means we are realistic with our task setting and allows us to work in fortnightly sprints. All of our clients know this, it’s in our ways of working and is never an issue. We mix longer term capacity planning with shorter term milestone setting and plan workload up to 3 months in advance. We see issues early on if they occur. The clearer the planning, the easier it is to work in a flexible way.

It just requires a bit of upfront graft!

Georgia —  Head of Marketing

Flexible hours are great for me because I’m an early bird who crashes come tea time. If I want to, I can get started at 8am, spend an hour walking at lunch time and close my laptop at 5pm. Knowing that we have a flexible culture means I can get work done in my most productive time periods, as well as pop out now and then to do life admin or attend an appointment without feeling deceptive or restricted. I feel respected and valued as a person with a life outside of work, which is really important to me.

Tom — Designer

Flexible working for me has been something I’ve been fortunate to have in my career for the last couple of years (being able to leave a bit earlier if needs be, start later, half day Friday’s etc.) but since joining the Maya team I’ve seen how important flexible working can be for people, and how productive it can make you as a business.

I freelance part-time alongside my usual days with Maya, and they’ve always accommodated my needs, whether that’s having the flexibility to move my base days around to fit my freelance work, or even if something comes up outside of work that needs my attention.They’re a truly understanding bunch of people, who actively find new ways of working to fit the whole teams lifestyle. They respect that everyone has different things going on in their life, whether that’s childcare or personal goals, and overall that makes for a happier work/life balance, which is always reflected in the higher quality work they produce.

Flexible working is the future and I genuinely believe it should be a priority for any business of any scale, it seems that agencies like Maya are leading the way and I hope people notice, especially after the shit couple of years we’ve all had.

Jake — Web Developer

Life isn’t neat and doesn’t fit to our schedule. Even more so now that we work from home, where each of us has our own challenges and distractions. Being able to take time when it’s needed makes the world of difference. When you no longer have to travel to work and especially when the nights start early, even just being able to take a longer lunch and go outside in daylight can help your state of mind.

James — Front-End Developer

The flexibility makes it easier to fit in school and nursery runs — they are definitely less stressful!

No commute means I miss the daily bike ride but being able to pop out for a walk or fresh air when I need is really nice and if I do want to do more I have that extra time that the commute would have taken up in the day.

Sally — Social Media Manager

Flexible working for me wasn’t on my radar until I became a parent, which I think makes it essential… for those half term holidays that appear out of nowhere and also just school life! But recently for me its about being able to have that mythical work life balance, work not being rigid just makes sense to me and makes me feel valued.

This shouldn’t just be for parents or people that really need it but everyone.

Andrew — Back-End Developer

This biggest benefit I’ve found in flexible working has been the ability to work around unexpected changes in the way I feel. If I have several meetings back to back or a particularly challenging piece of work, sometimes my Asperger’s leaves me feeling tired. Being able to take a break for a walk or a nap and work later in the day to cover it without feeling guilty or like I’m doing something wrong makes a huge difference.

Another benefit is the ability to plan my work around my day, instead of always having to plan my day around my work. If need to make an appointment, or if I want to go for a longer lunch out with my other half, I can just plan to do it.

I also think that this sort of working is good for the team as a whole. Because people are responsible for choosing their own hours, when people express that they’re not feeling great or need to step away, it isn’t questioned whether a person actually feels ok or not, it’s just accepted. This creates a far better sense of belonging than any team-building exercises could, or could ever be achieved in a classic 9–5 job.

Chris — Creative Director

We work in 2 weeks sprints here at Maya and as of this year have started working a 4 day week. Everyone is in Tues > Thu with half of us working Mondays, leaving Fridays as a buffer day. Due to our 2 week sprints we have pretty good foresight to workload and if we ever need to adapt our weeks we have the flexibility to do so usually with a good bit of advance. This means we can not only adapt our weeks around deadlines but also our own personal lives and health.

It’s not uncommon for us to have extended lunches if we need to do things outside of work and either start earlier or finish later. Personally for me this this makes work far less stressful. It is rare that we are having to make last minute changes or pull late night hours to hit a deadline and if we are ever in that situation we are conscious to make sure we accommodate any extra workload with rest.

It’s also important we are transparent about this and communicate it clearly with clients through regular catchups and scoping, being aware of when they are working and having time off as much as when we are so that we never end up with dead-ends or having to hold off work. I think it’s easy for people to just think about themselves when actually it’s as important to know this about everyone who is involved in a project.