No pressure Friday – by Pop Communications’ Zainab Imichi Alhassan Alli

Zainab Imichi Alhassan Alli explains how Pop Communications has taken the hustle mentality out of a four-day workweek

 Zainab Imichi Alhassan Alli, co-founder, Pop Communications
By Zainab Imichi Alhassan Alli, co-founder, Pop Communications

Since starting Pop Communications, my business partner Sarah and I have always advocated for flexibility to foster a work/life balance. Implementing an accommodating work model has always been in our plans. Covid-19 forced many firms to re-evaluate operations, which meant working remotely for many. We found our firm thrived under this arrangement. Tasks were getting completed when team members felt they performed best.

Do you want to know where the future of technology in advertising is heading? Or how to incorporate AI into marketing? Do you want to network with industry professionals in the fields of technology and AI? Then join us for our Campaign Breakfast Briefing: Tech and AI 2022. Click here to learn more and register. 


When the UAE’s government announced plans to change its workweek in January 2022, we took the opportunity to implement ‘No Pressure Fridays’ in accordance with the shift.

As many agency founders know, our industry heavily focuses on client servicing. This element is pivotal but, just like with any challenges, there is a way to approach this practice as many have done.

Sarah and I found that offering Friday as a cushion to either take off or reduce hours best serves our firm and team as opposed to implementing a stringent four-day working week.

When the burden of completing work within a set number of days or working hours is removed and flexibility is offered, efficient and positive operations result. We want our team to enjoy their work and not feel any tension or heaviness in the work environment.

This approach does not mean we fully shut down on Fridays, but we are operationally versatile, which works for our business model and plays a key role in successful implementation.

Contemplating a ‘No Pressure’ approach? Consider this:

Team feasibility: is your staff a match?

Self-sufficient and proactive team: If your team needs to be micro-managed or overseen in an office, this approach may not be a match. However, it can be worked on over time as we did. The move to work remotely because of Covid-19 marked our first foray into offering flexibility with amended working hours. After ironing out a few bumps, our team championed the approach and its corresponding responsibilities, and we felt confident to move ahead.

Time management skills: This is a big one. Sarah and I worked very hard to find, secure and maintain a team that can equally excel independently and as a group.

Goals: What is the benefit of this approach to your business?

Operational efficiency/work-life balance: Eliminating time constraints and shifting mindsets has increased productivity. Say there’s a press release that needs to be with a client by Monday, one can choose to get it done by Thursday or take solace in knowing time can be dedicated on a Friday without other requirements. This fosters ownership of time and decreases any anxieties, encouraging a balanced work and personal life. The result is often superior.

Freelance support attractiveness: Flexibility is often an attractive element to this workforce. We’ve found this approach aligns with freelancers’ work styles and needs. As business owners, we are happy to collaborate with trusted and proven partners where there is a mutual understanding and agreement to do a good job.

Clear communication: Foundation to success

Internal (team): Be clear on the flexibility/functional components from the start. If work needs to be completed within a certain timeframe or a client has an urgent matter that requires action, it will be handled. Team members need to know this and be on board with it. We’ve found that this is often a non-issue, as time management skills are instilled when there is something positive to work towards.

External (clients/media): Most clients are supportive of the approach and respect it if communicated properly. The ability to offer alternatives or work on a Friday when needed is required at times, and that’s OK. Next week and thereafter may be different. The same approach is practised for editorial connections.

So, if you’re considering a four-day workweek but feel it may not be the right approach due to time constraints, give the ‘no pressure’ approach a try. You may find it to be the operational powerhouse practice you never knew was needed. It was a game changer for Pop Communications and is something that will be a standard policy from here on out.