One of the world’s best-known ad agencies is testing something really bold: 40-hour workweeks

No more burning the midnight oil.
No more burning the midnight oil.
Image: Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives/CC 2.0
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Anyone who has worked in or around adland, or watched Mad Men, knows that a career in advertising is not a nine-to-five job. Crafting and managing campaigns for picky clients requires work around the clock, often on weekends and holidays.

That could change as more agencies find themselves competing for talent against tech companies that can afford to pay top dollar, like Facebook and Google.

Wieden + Kennedy, known for ads including Bud Light’s 2016 Super Bowl spot starring Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer, Gap’s “Dress Normal” campaign, and those Heineken Light commercials featuring Neil Patrick Harris, is rethinking its grueling timetable. It wants to become a more pleasant place to work. The creative agency’s London office recently made the radical decision to encourage employees not to work more than 40 hours a week, Campaign reported. The firm—dubbed “Weekend + Kennedy” for its demanding hours—will test the initiative at its London office during the next few months.

The agency has ordered a moratorium on meetings before 10am and after 4pm, and instructed employees not to check work emails after 7pm, the publication reported. Staffers are also encouraged to leave the office at 4:30pm on Fridays. The company did not say how it will handle clients’ needs after hours.

Wieden + Kennedy, which employs roughly 1,100 people globally and 170 people in London, declined to reveal additional details to Quartz.

Other companies are cutting work hours as well. Small firms like United Shore Financial Services and startups like BambooHR  enforce strict, 40-hour weekly work schedules and encourage employees to fully unplug from home.

Restricting work hours doesn’t always result in less time in the office. Just ask the French. Although the country has a law limiting full-time employees to a 35-hour workweek, people typically work just over 40 hours a week on average.

Resized feature image by Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr, licensed as CC 2.0.