Does a 4-Day working week make an agency more attractive for acquisition?

Steven Mallon Agency Partner Director
Steven Mallon Agency Partner Director
Steven Mallon of Agency Partner

I think the question is better framed inverted – does a 4-day working week make an agency less attractive for acquisition?

There is no doubt that the core themes of wellbeing, work-life balance are, rightly, major considerations in every organisation. In the many agencies that we at Waypoint Partners meet and work with these are board level issues that inform the health and wellbeing agenda of the agency as well as the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). One of the ways in which this manifests itself, and that we are seeing across the industry, is in the increasingly popular introduction of a 4-day week.

4-Day Working Potential Benefits

Regardless of whether an agency wants to sell, there are many aspects to assess and analyse the impact of a change in the traditional 5-day weekly structure. There are many potential upsides to the 4-day week where benefit can be seen – both to employees and the agency itself:

  • Potential increases in productivity as has been experienced in wholesale advanced economies such as Denmark where a 4 day or 33-hour week is prevalent
  • Positive improvement in staff morale and sentiment
  • Instilling and promoting a better work-life balance and employee wellbeing
  • Enhanced reputation as a great place to work – impacting positively on both retention and attracting new talent in competitive skills markets

But the introduction of such a move would require careful consideration, trialling, and measurement in order for agency leadership to be assured that the positive outcomes can be attained.

Agency Acquisition

For agencies looking towards acquisition, the primary consideration is around the potential acquirer’s view on the subject. That will be unique and entirely subjective to the individual buyer. If there are quantifiable and demonstrable upsides alongside the core buying considerations that validate the value of the 4-day week such as improved productivity over the period, high rates of staff engagement and retention, an effective EVP then there would be strong evidence to point toward the 4-day week as a successful, integral component of the organisation. 

On the other hand, potential acquirers could be presented with an integration problem. Acquiring an agency with a 4-day week into, for example, a group that does not have a 4-day week presents a potential headache when aligning the acquired business with the core business. That is perhaps a headache that some acquirers would prefer not to address and may rule out some agencies as potential acquisitions. However, we are the beginning of a trend that may take hold and become more prevalent in which case it could, over time, be commonplace. In that scenario, acquirer views and, indeed, their own position on the subject may change over time.

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