As a professional services firm, an agency, the majority of our work is for clients and their organisations. Many agencies then find that they never get round to doing any work on ensuring their own business is well run and continuously developed. Others try to cram it in ad-hoc during the week, while also doing client work — which isn't really fair on clients or good for the agency either. We want to avoid these problems.
Our approach is to do client work 4 days a week (usually Monday to Thursday), and to work on our own business on the 5th day (Friday).
The advantages of this approach are:
It reduces context switching, which affects focus, effectiveness and stress levels.
Clients always know we are focused on their projects, during the time we are working for them, getting better value and higher productivity.
We can all work together at the same time on the work to improve our business, making collaboration easier.
Clients report that they are grateful for us not working on their projects on Fridays, because the projects are quite intensive Monday to Thursday, so Friday is a day they can catch up with other things too.
We use Friday like this:
0915-1000: our Weekly Call. In this we catch up on the week, update on where we're at with current internal projects, then plan for the rest of the day. Finally we talk about diary notes and other updates for the coming week - and the weekends.
1000-1430ish: We work collaboratively on projects that are about improving the way Convivio works
After 1430ish-end: We work individually on our own professional development
It's fine that some weeks the balance will be more towards collaborative work on internal projects, while other weeks the balance will be more towards individual professional development. This suggested split is just a guide about when it's reasonable to arrange a workshop or meeting, or ask to work with someone collaboratively on something.
The internal company work could be working on current sales proposals, on communicating our work through blogs or videos, on initiatives that we've started to improve the way the company works in some way, or anything that helps build our business.
The professional development time could be reading, doing an online course, trying out new skills with a fun side project, writing about and sharing what you're learning, or anything that helps you develop new skills, knowledge and confidence in doing your work.
Sometimes you want to go to a conference or an event, or we have to do something for an internal project earlier in the week, or do a pitch for another client.
In such cases we aim, as much as possible, to make up the client time by swapping the days, so we do the client work on Friday. If it can't be made up, the client doesn't get billed for the days, of course.
Our client work is our main priority because we have contractual obligations, and they pay our wages. Therefore, in weeks with bank holidays, we arrange the 4 days we work for the client to fit into the rest of the week. So if there's a bank holiday Monday, we do the client work Tuesday to Friday.