Wieden & Kennedy tries limiting work hours

The London office of "Weekend & Kennedy" is trying to do something about its reputation as a sweatshop

Wieden & Kennedy London is experimenting with work rules that could spell an end to the agency's reputation for gruelling hours — as well as the nickname "Weekend & Kennedy."

For the next few months, the creative agency is barring staff from organizing meetings before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. in a bid to stop its employees coming into work too early and leaving too late. No staff will be expected to work more than 40 hours a week. 

Agency staff have also been told not to send or read work emails after 7 p.m. and are encouraged to leave work at 4.30 p.m. on Fridays.

The plan is the brainchild of Wieden & Kennedy London’s deputy managing director, Helen Foulder.

Neil Christie, the agency’s managing director, told Campaign that the changes are intended to make Wieden & Kennedy a more appealing place to work.

In recent years, creative agencies have been forced to compete for talent with tech companies, such as Google, that ask an equal commitment of employees but are able to offer higher salaries to recruits.

Wieden & Kennedy is by no means the only creative agency to earn a nickname because of its culture of making staff work long hours. Bartle Bogle Hegarty  is sometimes referred to as "GBH" (grievous bodily harm) rather than by its initials, while 72andSunny has earned the moniker "72andSunday."

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