Behind the scenes with AMA: 4-Day Week pilot. Blog 3 – successes and challenges

Behind the scenes with AMA: 4-Day Week pilot. Blog 3 – successes and challenges

By Danielle Patrick


Head of Operations and Events at Arts Marketing Association (AMA), Danielle Patrick takes us behind the scenes as we trial a 4-day week. In the third blog that follows the trial, Dani shares progress across the first six months and outlines the successes and challenges.

Welcome to the third and final part of our 4-Day Week blog series – or rather, spoiler alert, what was due to be the final blog – but more on that in a moment.

If you haven’t read about the 4-Day Week trial we’ve been doing at the AMA since October 2023, check out Blog 1 - getting started and - Blog 2- the midway point,  which will bring you up to speed.

Now, the update. We were planning to run our trial for six months, October 2023 – March 2024, and then make a proposal to our brilliant board for what we’d suggest to do next, based on our data. But on reflection, we didn’t think we were quite ready to do that. Here’s why:

  • Our six month trial has covered a lot of different types of events, projects, and areas of work across the whole AMA team. But what it didn’t cover was what’s generally our busiest time of year for lots of staff members – the AMA Conference. For us, it makes sense to see what our actual working patterns do over the run-up to the Conference, to see if we can maintain our reduced working hours. We know this will be a great test for us (and for me, in particular).
  • To make a decision about what we wanted to do at the end of the trial, we needed to have all of the data ready before the trial ended. But we sort of overlooked the fact that we’d need to wait until after the trial for that to be ready. Quite obvious, when you think about it. So we would have had to delay any decisions and proposals until at least the end of April anyway which would leave us in an uncertain 4-Day Week limbo.
  • Finally, as can often be the case when agreeing how to measure things before a project starts, we realised that one of our key metrics (being able to achieve everything we wanted to achieve) was actually much harder to measure than we anticipated. It’s been easy to clock when a target wasn’t quite met, when a deadline was pushed back, or when a project had to be paused, but it’s been much harder to determine if that’s because of us working fewer hours for the 4-Day Week, if it’s been because of other reasons or external factors, or even a mix of the two. This is something we’d really like to work on, and hopefully find an effective way of pinning this causality down.

So at the end of March, our CEO Cath pitched to the AMA board that we continue with the trial for another six months, ending in September 2024, which would give us a full year of data and cover the AMA Conference period. They agreed – which we’re all very pleased about – so now we can get busy working on those all-important metrics, to ensure we have some great quality data ready to support a decision at the end of September for what happens next.

In the meantime, we all completed a survey at the six-month mark to consider how the trial had impacted us, both in work and outside of work, and that sparked some really insightful things for us. We asked a few of the AMA team to share their reflections with you here:


Jemma Green Senior Marketing Officer — Events"During the trial I've started every week feeling well rested. Instead of squeezing life admin, socialising & 'me' time into 2 days, I can now dedicate a day to the things I enjoy doing. It's helped shine a light on how organised you have to be, to not become overwhelmed by the shift in workload. Even if the trial doesn't continue, the work the team has done on this and our meeting times will definitely be carried forward.

There have definitely been highs and lows throughout the trial, but it feels like it's working and I can definitely feel the benefit of it - it's going to be quite hard to go back to a 5-day week." - Jemma Green, Sales and Marketing Manager


Lewis Rodin head and shoulders"I'm still loving the 4 Day week! I finally feel like I have balance in my life between work and other commitments. At times the loss of a fifth working day has been challenging, but I have wondered if this had been a case of the amount of work growing to fit the time available." - Lewis Rodin, Member Community Manager


Molly Pilkington head and shoulders

"I’m a big fan of the 4-day work week so far! My work-life balance is the best it’s been, and I don’t feel mentally tired to work on other things I have going on outside of work. I’ve had to really step up my task management and made sure to schedule this into the last hour of my work week. It’s been a bit of trial and error but starting work again on Monday with a clear plan has helped me focus and check things off my list.

I think the way we’ve approached it as a team has been really inclusive and honest, which I think is important when trialling something like this." - Molly Pilkington, Member Community Officer


Jack Hayes head and shoulders

"Working four days a week has led me to all these online tools I never knew existed that really help focus my time and reduce distractions, making me more efficient overall. I'm also in fewer unnecessary meetings and the ones I do have are more robustly structured. Having that extra day off to do life admin means the actual weekend can actually be a weekend too, which is a godsend!" - Jack Hayes, Senior Projects and Events Officer

If you’d like to chat about the AMA’s 4-Day Week experiment or have any questions just email me to carry on the conversation.

Headshot image of Danielle Patrick, Head of Projects at Events | Arts Marketing Association

Danielle Patrick, Head of Operations and Events, Arts Marketing Association

Resource type: Articles | Published: 2024