Business case studies

Case Study: Isle of Barra Distillers’ 4-day working week for wellbeing

Scotland’s most westerly whisky distillery switched to a four-day working week at the start of this year. It’s still early days for the small team but here, Isle of Barra Distillers co-founders Michael and Katie Morrison explains why they decided to make the switch.

As a close-knit team here at Isle of Barra Distillers, the health and mental wellbeing of our employees are our top priority. We have a fantastic hardworking team who we would be lost without, so we are always aware of the need for a good work-life balance.

A 2022 business goal for us is to let our employees know how much we appreciate and care for them. From the start of this year, we’ve been working a four-day week to give us all more time to spend with loved ones, do hobbies and complete the necessary household chores.

We have taken some time to think about the pros and cons and had discussions with employees to make sure this change will benefit everyone. Our employees agreed they would prefer working slightly longer hours in order to work fewer days.

Our four-day working week provides employees with more free time outside of work, with no loss in pay. There are several other advantages too, such as cutting down on childcare costs, less commuting to work and simply having more time to spend with loved ones. We are flexible, so if at any point our team’s circumstances change, we of course look to make the hours work as best we can.

We have adapted our work processes to suit a shorter working week. It means we no longer dispatch orders on a Friday. However, we truly believe this has a positive effect on our employees’ wellbeing and therefore the distillery reaps the benefits of this when employees come to work refreshed and energised for their working week.

It’s never been more appropriate to look after ourselves, and a big part of this comes from striking a good balance between our professional and social lives.

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