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Krystal trials 4-day working week

Simon B

1 Jun 20234 min read • Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, News, Save the planet

I’ve always said that Krystal is great people, great technology, in that order. We simply wouldn’t be able to do business the way we do it without the talent and dedication of our staff. That’s why we’ve always tried to create an environment where our people can truly thrive.

So I’m thrilled to announce that Krystal is trialling a 4-day working week!

Starting today, June 1st, and running for 6 months, this experiment aims to further improve staff wellbeing. Not only is this great for the team but the theory is that productivity will stay about the same, and quality will go up, which should improve the service clients receive. Win/win! (And hopefully it’ll build on our collection of over 1,500 5 star reviews…!)

Better for staff, clients, company and society!

As a responsible and ethical employer, we want our team to be healthy, wealthy and wise. Staff may work from any suitable location, whether that’s a home office or work hubs and we offer some of the industry’s best remuneration packages, including private healthcare across the board. We aim to inspire, support and challenge staff to be their very best, a read through our Glassdoor reviews tells us that on the whole we do a pretty good job. But we never stop looking for ways to improve.

The benefits of a 4-day working week have been well publicised. Back in 2019, Microsoft Japan introduced a four-day working week and reported a 40% boost in productivity. In February 2023, the results of the world's biggest ever four-day working week pilot were revealed. Taking place in the UK over 6 months and involving around 3,000 workers, it was a resounding success.

Its results make for fascinating reading: almost every company (92%) that took part decided to continue with a four-day week with no reduction in pay. 39% of workers were less stressed and 71% had reduced levels of burnout. Anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health improved. This places less burden on health services and has other less obvious societal benefits.

Unsurprisingly, having happier, healthier staff also proved beneficial to employers: staff turnover reduced by 57%, while revenue increased by 1% on average. It was these positive results that inspired Alex Easter, Krystal’s Chief Technology Officer, to suggest that Krystal conduct its own trial.

How Krystal’s trial will work

Back in February, we asked the support team for volunteers to install software that would more closely track how they spent their working time. This was to provide the control data for the upcoming trial but for obvious reasons we couldn’t let on at this stage! Thanks to the kind permission of those who agreed, we have been able to proceed with the trial. Free beers to those heroes!

After careful consideration and months of discussion and planning we settled on our best guess at an approach that we hope will work. But part of the idea behind running a trial is that we will gather incredibly valuable information as we go along and we can make adjustments if needed.

Key points

  • The trial involves our Technical Support team, currently 18 souls. Though we’re hiring!
  • Staff involved will work the same hours and times as currently, just for 1 day less - 32 hours per week instead of 40. (20% less work time)
  • All pay and benefits (including annual leave entitlement) will remain the same.
  • All staff on the trial will enjoy a consecutive 3-day break from work.
  • For Monday-Friday staff, half will get Friday off, the other half Monday.
  • Half way through the trial, at 1 quarter/13 weeks, this will reverse and they’ll have the other day off.
  • Tuesday’s will be dedicated as ‘Team Tuesday’, where everyone shares a work day and important meetings and briefings can be held. We believe this will be important for preserving culture.
  • Support staff that work any weekend days will have 3 consecutive days off so that they can be present for Team Tuesday.

If the trial is successful we hope to roll out a 4-day week wherever practical across the company. This would be done with care on a team-by-team basis in close collaboration with team managers.

What about service levels?

We’re still providing the same coverage as we do currently and our emergency business out of hours phone support remains unchanged. Output and service levels should improve, or at the very least, remain the same as we’re moving towards a ‘reduced-hour, output-focused’ model.

The whole purpose of conducting a trial is to make sure we can continue to provide the exceptional service Krystal is known for, while our people put in 80% of the time. We will maintain full support coverage throughout the trial, with our 18-strong support team being carefully monitored to ensure service levels remain at 100%.

Positive progress

With more time to rest, pursue hobbies, spend time with family and generally recharge, it’s our hope that staff will come to work energised and capable of delivering even higher levels of service. In turn we hope our improved service and happier team members will make Krystal more popular with clients (and prospective staff - did I mention we’re hiring?!).

We look forward to testing this theory in practice and sharing the results with you in six months’ time!

About the author

Simon B

In 2002, frustrated by poor service and bad business practices, I created Krystal to provide an “Honest, Reliable & Personal” alternative to the large faceless hosting corporations. We’re in business because we’re passionate about technology & solving problems.

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