When Upgrade Pack surveyed the team to ask if we would welcome a four-day working week, like all of my colleagues, I was enthusiastic about the idea.
One of the reasons our co-founders proposed a shorter week was to foster a greater work-life balance, encouraging employees to use their Fridays for hobbies, vocations and time away from the office.
In truth, a four-day week could not have come at a better time for me, as it has allowed me to dedicate a day a week to work towards becoming ACCA qualified.
Anyone who works in accounting knows the importance of being qualified in ACA or ACCA/CIMA. For those that don’t, it means I will have the technical skills to prepare accounts in accordance with the FRS (Financial Reporting Standards) & IFRS (International Reporting Standards), as well as having the recognition of the ACCA.
As Upgrade Pack continues to scale, opening offices in Singapore and Toronto, my ACCA will provide a fantastic foundation and provide a set of transferable skills to support our growth and manage accounts from an international and diverse set of clients. Being ACCA qualified will allow me to work in accordance with international jurisdictions and create financial information not only at a local level, but also at an international group level.
Before our shorter week, I was studying before and after work, at times, even spending my lunch break revising for an exam, which meant I was very exhausted as I had no down time after a full day of work. However, a four-day week has allowed me to have a dedicated study day, along with Saturday and Sunday with full focus and no interruptions.
As I have more dedicated time per week, I’ve been able to significantly reduce my timeline to becoming ACCA qualified. As of today, I only have five out of thirteen exams left to sit to become qualified - Audit & Assurance, Strategic Business Leader, Strategic Business Reporting, Advanced Financial Management & Advanced Audit and Assurance. With so many exams, and many like me taking the course alongside a job, it can be difficult to complete the course within a year.
Having an improved work-life balance means I have more time to study and prepare for two exams per quarter as opposed to one, something that would have been extremely hard to do with a five-day working week. Ultimately, it means I can be qualified quicker than I had originally anticipated, which is great for Upgrade Pack as I can bring in my newly gained expertise and technical knowledge to the business…provided I don’t freeze on the day of the exams!
From a personal perspective, our four-day week has also enabled me to bypass the London rush hour morning commute as I’m getting into work earlier than before. As many Londoners will know, our train network isn’t renowned for its reliability but whilst the usual delays and cancellations that plague the network continue, I’m usually in the office by the time they start to become affected.
Finally, the four-day week has also allowed me to explore my other passion – beauty. I have been freelancing as a hair and makeup artist for a couple of years, something I really enjoy. Having worked in finance for almost eight years – I think it’s important to have a creative side to balance out life.
Whilst we’re only two months into our shorter week trial, it has brought numerous benefits to me both inside and outside the office. For any employers thinking about introducing it, from an employee perspective, I would highly recommend it.