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No-Work Wednesdays: The Company Eliminating Hump Day From The Working Week

Hump-day. The bridge between the worst and best 48 hours of the working week. But how useful is it as a working day? One Australian app development company says not at all...

Deepend, an augmented reality and artificial intelligence agency based in Melbourne, removed Wednesdays from the working week around a year ago.

Whilst changes and tweaks to company working structures have been seen on a base-level in other countries, this is one of the first cases where a company has stuck with an initiative that sees a working week drastically changed in nature.

Deepend's chief executive Kathryn Blackham told tech-review website Campaign Brief employees are still expected to work a 37.5 hour week, but that staff aren't expected to "pitch, have meetings, check emails or seek new business" on Wednesdays.

They can either work longer shifts on other days, or work from home on Wednesdays -- with the option to fit their other commitments around their work schedule.

The idea to split the week into "two mini-weeks" was to bring about a "renewed focus" for employees, Blackham said.

She says the results have been impressive, with a 46 percent growth in revenue and a "happier, healthier and more productive team".

Deepend's Melbourne Office. Picture: Michael Catford

The move to re-imagine the traditional five-day working week --  the norm in Western corporate culture for almost a century -- has been becoming something of an international trend.

Last year, New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian permanently mandated a four-day week, after an eight-week trial saw a marked drop in stress levels with no drop in output recorded.

"We feel liberated, we feel empowered, we feel heard and excited," one manager told NZ publication Stuff.

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Sweden has been experimenting with six-hour workdays since 2015, with results showing employees took less sick leave and were less stressed, although the experiment was criticised for bringing in higher upfront costs associated with hiring more staff.

And in France, a 2017 'right to disconnect' law gave employees freedom from checking work emails -- even when off the clock.

The law required companies with more than 50 employees to establish when staff should not send or answer emails.