Publicis Groupe’s Starcom prompted a debate about the realities of flexible working this week after it emerged that its HR department had emailed staff about the lack of attendance in the office on Fridays.
The email warned staff that clients had noticed the "noticeably empty" office at the end of the week and threatened to reverse the flexible working policy if things did not improve.
After the message came to light, Sue Frogley, chief executive of Publicis Media, said Publicis Groupe remained committed to flexible working, but it wanted to revive a "Friday feeling" in the office.
Four industry professionals reflect on why they think Friday is the best day to work from home.
Emily Ash Powell, copywriter, Proximity London
Before joining adland, I worked at a start-up that had a brilliant flexible working policy. The freedom to choose your environment had a huge impact on both me and my work, and I realised it was one of the things I valued most in a job. If I could, I’d work from somewhere different every day. So when I joined Proximity London as a copywriter last year, I told my soon-to-be boss how much I valued that flexibility.
For the last year, we’ve stuck to it (except for the occasional meeting I’m needed at) and it makes a huge difference to my working week and the life I have outside it too. I start every Friday with a different kind of energy, pumped on the idea that it’s the last chance of the working week to really get things done with a final push – without the distractions of the office or the lure of the pub at lunch. If they say that creativity exists outside the nine to five, I’d also say that it exists outside the four walls of your usual office environment too.
Cutting out the Friday commute means I can use those pockets of time to work on other projects outside of my day job. I value this time so much, and without it I wouldn’t be able to keep those things ticking over.
Chris Harris, director, Rotate
In agency land, the sea of client meetings, calls and emails tends to be calmer come Friday, so for me it's naturally a more convenient day to work from home. Time and space in a familiar yet different working environment can give a freedom to get creative, write a pitch, pull together a strategy or generally tackle chunkier tasks with total focus, with a coffee in your favourite mug. For years, it’s been the most productive day of the week. Plus, there’s the added bonus of starting the weekend without the drag of a commute…
Glenn Fisher, author, copywriter and host, All Good Copy podcast
Monday? Ugh. Panic. Pressure. Meetings. You don’t want to be there, but you definitely don’t want it in your home. Tuesday, you can ask your colleagues for help. But who wants to help a distorted voice on conference call? Think Wednesday is a chance to break up the week? Think again. All you’ll do is extend the hump. Thursday is last-chance saloon. Struggling on the to-do? You’ll need face time to rope in help. But Friday. Oh, Friday. You sun lounger. You piña colada. You waterslide into the weekend. What’s not done can’t be done. Move it to Monday. Friday is free-thinking time. Sit back and let your mind wander as WFH slowly blurs into OOO.
Tess Coughlan-Allen, marketing manager at Mind Doodle
Flexible working at Mind Doodle means I can start and end my workday when it suits me and I have the choice to work from home, the office, a café, co-working space… or wherever I like. Friday is the best day for working from home, because I usually have this day free of meetings or deadlines. It’s a day that I can use for creative tasks like writing articles and editing podcasts or videos at home without distraction. Time saved without a commute means I can start enjoying my weekend earlier, which is great balance too.