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Balancing Productivity and Leisure: Modern Work’s Paradigm Shift | Claire Daniels

Today’s Guest Claire Daniels

Meet Claire Daniels, a trailblazing CEO and visionary leader at the helm of Trio Media, a UK-based digital marketing agency. Known for turning personal adversity into professional triumph, Claire has taken Trio Media from a lifestyle business to a rapidly growing powerhouse with a team of 14, all while championing mental health and work-life balance. Famed for introducing the 4-day workweek, Claire has not only made headlines but also sparked a revolution in the way we work. So I for one am looking forward to this conversation with Claire...

Is the secret to skyrocketing productivity and pursuing your passion wrapped up in a four-day workweek? Join us as we unravel the unconventional wisdom that's turning the 9-to-5 world on its head!

In this episode we explore:

  • Claire introduced a four-day workweek in her company to promote employee well-being and work-life balance.
  • Claire drew on resources from the 4 Day Week Global trial and was influenced by Paul Holbrook's business, Diary Detox. She later launched a planner to help others transition to this work model.
  • Claire enjoys a "settled" life in Leeds, even with frequent moves due to her property renovation projects. She cherishes having a constant base despite her dynamic living situations.
  • The conversation highlighted Claire's love for hands-on property renovations, suggesting it as a fulfilling weekend activity and a potential reason for her company's four-day workweek.

Links for Claire

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Claire: [00:00:00] but I heard something in a webinar that I was doing about the four day week that I thought was really poignant when someone said the four day week didn't solve all our problems but it surfaced them and that is just so true because it gives you a catalyst for change, you know, if you have no reason to look at every single process, the way you work, the way people are, If you have no reason to do that, you'll keep doing the same thing.

Whereas the four day week became our reason to look at everything and how we could be more productive, etc. And how many people then said to me, well, but you could have done all those things and people work five days a week. So then you could have got 120% productivity out of them. And I'm like, but that's not the point because the point is.

Get people to buy in on going on this journey with us with the fact that they get the reward of the four day week at the end and we just would have never looked at the things that we've looked at if we didn't have that reason. [00:01:00]

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with me, your host, Matt. Matt Edmundson. Now this is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that today I'm chatting with Claire Daniels from Trio Media about where she's had to push through, what she does to recharge her batteries, as well as what more looks like for Claire.

Now the show notes and transcript from our conversation will be available On our website, which is PushToBeMore. com and on our website you can also sign up for our newsletter and each week we will email you these links along with the notes and the transcript. They come to you automatically, totally free, which is amazing.

So head to PushToBeMore. com for the notes, the links, sign up to the newsletter, all of that good stuff. And you are listening to this episode. Thanks to Aurion Media. They're the experts who busy entrepreneurs and leaders like us [00:02:00] kind of turn to when they're looking to start their own successful podcast.

You know, this podcast has been one of the best things I've done for a long time. It's opening a door to a whole new world filled with fantastic people, inspiring stories, and opportunities to really connect with my customers, my team, and my... Suppliers. And you know what, I honestly think that anybody with a passion and a business should consider hosting their own podcast because it makes such a massive difference.

But, and I appreciate there is always a but, it's not always plain sailing. Getting everything set up, dealing with the tech, working out the best approach, it can all be a bit of a headache. And that's where Aurion Media comes in. They're like my backstage crew. They handle all the bits and pieces that make the podcast work, so I can just focus on having great conversations, which is frankly, is a beautiful thing.

So, if you're wondering if whether a podcast [00:03:00] could help your business to reach more people, give Aurion Media a shout. They're available at aurionmedia. com. That's A U R I O N Media. com and that Is enough about the show sponsor, let's talk about today's guest, Claire Daniels, a trailblazing CEO and visionary leader at the helm of Trio Media, which is a UK based digital marketing agency known for turning personal adversity into professional triumph.

Claire has taken Trio Media from a lifestyle business to a rapidly growing powerhouse. Uh, all the while, championing mental health and the work life balanced, uh, she is famed for introducing the four day work week. And Clare's not only made headlines, but also sparked a bit of a mini revolution in the way we work.

So Clare, totally looking forward to this conversation. I have so many questions. Uh, it's great to have you. Welcome to the show. Thanks for [00:04:00] joining me.

Claire: Thanks, Matt, and I have to get you permanently to do more introductions for me, because you made that sound amazing. You can just do that before I enter a room, or, you know.

Matt: Yeah, no problem. And here's Claire from Trio Media. It's all in the voice, I think it's all about how you throw your, actually it's not at all, it's, it's always all true isn't it though, you're all um, you're all doing quite amazing things over at Trio Media and it, it doesn't matter where I look on the internet, the internet tells me the same thing.

Claire: Yeah, I'd, I'd say so. I like to think so anyway. So, um, yeah, we're doing our best to do all those positive things and then make sure everyone knows about them as well to really put us on the map.

Matt: Yeah, no, well done, well done, and I'm looking forward to getting into it, but before we jump into all of the questions about that, let me start with our standard question. I say standard, I need to come up with a better phrase, because for me, it's probably the most interesting question. If you had a podcast, and I know you have one, it's on a [00:05:00] slight hiatus at the moment, but let's not talk about it, um, and you could interview anybody from your past or your present which has had a really profound influence on your life, but Who would that be and why?

Claire: Do you know what, I had one answer in my head originally, but when you explained it as one from your past or presence, who's had a profound impact on your life? Um, I actually then, So I'll tell you both, but when you explain that I thought, actually I'd interview my dad. Um, he's still here and still with us, it's not anything like that, but you know, I find that with your parents you often don't actually...

Get to know them that well, or the past, you know, or what they were like and what they were doing as you were a child, you didn't really get to know them. Um, but, you know, my dad is a key motivator for me and was always someone who I looked up to, um, you know, from a professional standpoint and someone who worked really hard [00:06:00] and You know, I probably don't know a lot about actually how he got to where he got to, and I think that would be a really interesting discussion to sit down and, I mean, you know, the interview chair.

So yeah, that was then where I went to, but initially I had also thought of saying Deborah Meaden, um, just because I really love her. I think she's amazing, obviously super, super successful. I love that she flies the flag for sustainability and veganism. And everything like that. So she's a really big role model of mine as well, and someone that I'd love to follow.

And it's a bit of a running joke because a couple of people now have told me that I'm like a new Deborah Meaden. I'm not saying that about myself, but people have genuinely said it, so I'm like, yep, I will

Matt: I'll take it. I'll take it. Not a problem. Now, for those outside of the UK listening to the show, just explain who Deborah Meadon is.

Claire: So she's one of the dragons [00:07:00] on Dragon's Den and I believe, I can't remember what the name is, it's got a different shark tank I think is what it's called in the US, but is one of five successful entrepreneurs who invest

Matt: Mm.

Claire: so she's got a really varied portfolio and been super, super successful in her career.

And she's just a badass. I really like her approach and yeah, kind of more recently she's become very well known in the sustainability space. Um, I actually went on a webinar not too long ago that she was on talking about, um, it was a female investing webinar and talked about investing sustainably. And I just really like her approach and everything that she has to say.

Matt: Mm. So, what is it then, um, I love this phrase, she's a badass, and I totally understand knowing, all I know of Debra is what I've seen on TV, right, on Dragon's Den, and um, I can totally understand that. That, uh, description, [00:08:00] for want of a better expression of Deborah, um, so what is it then that about sustainability that draws you in, uh, why, why is that important to you in terms of she's obviously a proponent for it, she's a voice in that, in that sector, why, why does that draw you in?

Claire: It's something that I'm personally really passionate about. Um, kind of about 10 years ago, I started my own journey around looking at the impact on the planet and animals and stuff like that. I mean, personally, I'm a really, really big animal lover. That's my own personal driver and kind of within my values of wanting to do better.

I'm a vegetarian. I don't buy, I live a kind of vegan lifestyle and I wouldn't buy pillows that have feathers in them. I don't buy leather or anything like that. Um, and when you get into that space, you then, it kind of snowballs and you get more and more into it because The more you invest your time researching one area and [00:09:00] how to be better, um, it then just automatically makes you care about the, the wider picture as well.

So then looking at the environment, uh, there's such close links between meat manufacturing and production and, you know, the effects on global warming and the planet. And so you get into actually caring more about the planet and then so naturally you care about. Things being sustainably made. Um, so it's just one of those, it was how I've ultimately ended up as well, getting involved with Rainforest Trust UK.

Matt: hmm.

Claire: So I'm an ambassador of theirs, um, because again, just looking at charities that are doing good things that help support and align with my own personal values. So yeah, all, all of that for me, it's, it's a key driver in terms of just. Being kind to the planet that we're on and the inhabitants that are here, so not just people but animals as well, and just caring about that whole picture.

Matt: So, um, what, uh, [00:10:00] What do you think has been the single biggest change for you then, that's come out of that, that's had the biggest single impact on the planet?

Claire: Going vegetarian, definitely.

Matt: So cutting the meat out of the, the diet.

Claire: Yeah, yeah. Well for me, you know, being able to actually think, well, how many animals have I saved by not eating them? And then obviously the impact on the planet as well of reducing the production. I think there's a long way to go, but anyone who votes and believes in voting believes in the power that one single person can make, and so that's what I believe in as well, you know, and that actually I should live my life by my values.

Matt: I think, you know, I, I think you've hit the nail on the head there, that actually, Living your life, understanding what your values are, first and foremost, because I don't think many people do, uh, if I'm honest, um, but understanding what your values are and then living in a way that is connected [00:11:00] to those values seems to make a lot of sense.

To me, and you, it tends to be there, you become quite, I don't know if fulfilled is the right phrase, but certainly a little bit more content about life, um, obviously depending on what your values are, I mean, let's just be super clear, um, but it's, it's, it's an interesting one, isn't it, when you sort of understand your values, your personal values, and then you can outwork them, and you go, well, no, I'm actually, I'm doing what I, I can do here, and, and.

And that feels great, and I'm, I'm kind of curious, um, and the reason I'm asking all of these questions. Uh, is I actually, one of the things that I do on the side, on the side, is that my other half of my life is e commerce. And we do a lot of work in the vegan and vegetarian nutrition space, uh, with food supplements.

And it's fascinating to see, you know, the impact of something. So here, um, I have my, uh, I don't know if you can see that, this is our [00:12:00] Omega 3, um, which was pioneered and what fascinates me is this, this tube, uh, this, this bottle of capsules is the equivalent of 50 fish. It would take 50 fish to create the Omega 3 that's in this bottle that we managed to create without getting it from fish.

And so you, we have a little counter on our website. You know, Fish Lives Saved. It's a bit of fun, right? And it's, it's, you know, there's millions and the number just keeps going up and it's, it's great. But I'm curious in all of this, the flip side, this phrase that I keep hearing a lot about, and I know this is not on any of our scripts, but I'm just really curious, Claire, um, is this phrase greenwashing.

Um, and as a company then, you, you're the helm. You're very passionate about sustainability, which is Is awesome, um, how do you outwork those values in your business, if you, I assume you do, and how do you, how do you avoid the greenwashing [00:13:00] aspect?

Claire: Yeah. So we, it's my company's trio. So obviously my personal values naturally bleed into what we do. And so I take that very seriously in that we love to try and work with companies that are more sustainable or doing something good by the planet. I actually, the other day, We had kind of ended up with this client and they'd come through not normal methods.

They had an emergency. We helped them. They needed their site hosting somewhere. And so I didn't do the normal due diligence into them. And then once we'd kind of dealt with their emergency, we had a call with them. I was like, oh, so tell me about what you do. And it turns out they, in the science space, but a lot of what they're doing is testing on animals and I could have cried I was mortified.

So I've immediately told them we can't work together and that all of the money that they have paid us so far will be donated to animals. Um, because that's something I [00:14:00] can do within my power. Um, I was seriously sick. I actually cried about it because I was so mortified that, you know, we would take any money from someone that does that.

So, so against it. Um, but you know, we've done the right thing. We've said we, like, you are not aligned with who we are as a company. We can't work with you. And like I say, I don't want my business in any way to profit from it, which is why we're donating all of the funds they've given us so far to charity.

Um, but equally, I wouldn't say we do any greenwashing because. Seeing as I'm so emotionally invested in that space, I know what it takes, so I know also what we're not doing, you know, I'm very much looking at taking us down the B Corp route and getting B Corp certified,

Matt: yeah, yeah,

Claire: a whole thing in itself, you know, I've started looking into that and it's like, okay, yep, definitely need to do this when I find the time. You know, and, and so it's important to me, [00:15:00] but we, we never push or say that we are something we're not. You know, we, we don't promote ourselves as a sustainable or ethical company, but anyone who naturally might meet us or talk to us will know that we're passionate about it.

Matt: mm. That's really good. And we'll have to, um, outside of the podcast, trade stories about becoming B Corp certified because it's, um, it's one of those things that we've been, uh, doing for a little while now. So, uh, curious to see where it takes you and the lessons that you've learned along the way. Um, because I think it's a great thing to do.

I genuinely do. I, I, I do think it's a great thing to do. And, uh, well, so you're going to interview Deborah Meaden, um, and you're going to interview your dad, which I think is awesome. And dad is the most common answer, by the way, to this question. It's either dad or granddad, uh, when I've asked people this question, uh, which intrigues me.

Um, So now you run Trio Media. Okay. Um, and we said in the bio [00:16:00] that you've taken a sort of lifestyle business and turned it into the company that it is. There is a bit of a story there isn't there? So why don't you tell us that, that story?

Claire: Yes, of course. Um, so my, my personal background was more in client side marketing. So I've worked at tech companies predominantly, um, in strategic marketing roles. And it was an unfortunate turn of events that led to me getting involved in Trio as my brother passed away,

Matt: Mm

Claire: um, at the time of marketing at a tech company.

And I just really needed some Time off work. Um, I actually found out, which I didn't know, that I was the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. So, just happened to get a call one day, actually to work, they didn't have a mobile number, so they rang me at work, you know, to find me and said we've, you know, we've got this money for you.

And so it was like, right, you know, that's, that's what I needed. I'm going to quit my job and, [00:17:00] you know, I'm going to have some time out that I need, but also, You know, maybe look at starting my own business, investing in something. Um, and interestingly, we probably didn't cover this part of the story when we originally spoke, but linking to what we've just been talking about around the sustainability piece.

So when I decided to quit my job, I actually wanted to set up an environmental consultancy.

Matt: Okay.

Claire: I started an idea called the Planet A Project, um, you know, I was like, right, I'm going to go off and do this, I'm going to put all my time and effort into something that I'm really passionate about, and What I realised is, if you're already feeling quite lonely and, you know, upset and down, that then trying to set up a business on your own in that time probably, you know, isn't a great move.

And additionally, something that I've learned is it's a lot... More difficult to start a business on something you're passionate about versus something that you're already skilled in So I [00:18:00] you know certain skill sets and with the Planet A project I created an amazing website I did all the branding all of this and I was like right now.

What how do I? Get this, you know, off, off the marks and I just realised that it wasn't the right time so, you know, that, that was a failure but I don't really see it like that, you know, it, it, it gave me a story when I was leaving, you know, there's a lot of people in my previous role who Thank you very much.

Looked up to me and I was like, well, you know, I'm going off to start my own business. Don't feel upset for me kind of thing. So that happened and whilst I decided that actually that wasn't the right direction for me My sister in law and a couple friends of hers had set up Trio Media So their own background was more in kind of sales and advertising sales They'd set up the business and my sister in law was going off to have a baby and I said, look, whilst I'm not working, do you want me to help out with the business?

Just go into the office, just be there as a presence, make sure everyone's doing what they need to do. [00:19:00] Um, so I started getting involved a couple of days a week and it just kind of escalated from there really in that I realized there was a lot more that could be done with the company and I was a bit held back in helping them out because it was kind of like, do I stop here?

Because it's really my place to say, and so after a period of time, I was like, look, I'm going to have to go get a job somewhere else. And I went and did that. And then actually the business I couldn't really function without me when I stepped back out of it. So one of the, there was at this point two equal directors, one of whom was my sister in law, but the other one voluntarily left and signed her shares over to me.

So it was no purchasing of those shares at all. The business actually wasn't in a good position. And, you know, it was up to me to think, do I feel like I could come in and turn this around? Cause it's not really worth anything at the moment. So I did that. My [00:20:00] sister in law went off to have another baby, and you know, I spent a year completely transforming the business, running it on my own and realized that actually wouldn't be able to work together if she came back, because I've just changed it from where it was and, you know, there was so much potential.

And we were just on very different wavelengths about what the business should be in and how it should go. So we ended up having a discussion where, I mean, I, I basically said either I will leave or I will buy you out. I don't think we can work together. Um, you know, I knew also that because of how I'd built the business up, it probably would need my involvement, you know, so.

There was a very clear direction and I know it sounds a bit brutal, but you know, sometimes these things have to happen. So yeah, we ended up having a conversation and reaching an agreement where I would buy her out. And that was three, or was it four now, years ago. [00:21:00] And since then, just had amazing growth on average, 44% year on year financial growth, even through COVID and a pandemic that didn't slow us down.

We've now got a team. I've soon to be 15 because we've got a new hire starting next month as well, work with some really amazing clients and yeah, no looking back. And I still have a great relationship with my sister in law. So, you know, it's, it's all out in the end. And, you know, just, just on that quickly, because for anyone listening to that story.

It's definitely not easy to have those discussions, but I also, I knew in my mind what I wanted and also knew the kind of life she wanted and, you know, you have to get through very difficult conversations, but ultimately the outcome was aligned to what we both wanted and needed out of that situation.

And we both gained from it, but we just had to go through the really difficult conversations. To get there, but you know, if you don't ask, you don't get. So [00:22:00] I'm just encouraging anyone who's ever faced a situation like that, that you've just got to go into it and try your best to get out of it what you need.

Matt: that's it, well, you've pre empted my question because when you said, you know, you had to sit down with your sister in law and said either you leave or I leave, oh no, either I leave or I buy you out, um, that has a, that can go one of a few ways, can't it? And usually that starts to go very wrong very quickly, um, when you start to go we can't actually work together and that someone is family. So how did you navigate those conversations? I'm kind of 'cause it, it's great listening. You tell the story, but it's kinda like, well we just, you know, won the, we had a conversation one day and minutes later I own the company and it is just grown ever since Really. And yeah, we get on, well, we had a cup of coffee the other day.

It's fine, but I'm sure there's more to it, you know?

Claire: Yeah, there absolutely is. So, at the time, um, she was actually working with a life coach and had asked [00:23:00] me if I would meet with her life coach and see if there's anything I could get out of a conversation with that. And, you know, it must have been how I was feeling at the time because I, I kind of thought, well, I'm not going to get anything out of it, but if it makes you feel better that I go speak to them, I'll go speak to them and went into it.

Kind of pretty much within five minutes. I was like, I can't work with them. Um, you know, and so I actually spoke it out with her life coach and, you know, I do, I do think there was huge advantages in having a mediator, obviously within a situation like this, um, but the life coach knew things about what she wanted out of her life that I didn't know.

And she said to me, I think you should, Ask her, because actually you might be surprised that this is more aligned to what she wants because, you know, the priorities of someone who just had two children, and actually what she was saying she wanted out of life was money, [00:24:00] freedom, not much responsibility, time with family, so those were the things she wanted, and I'm there going, I want success, successful business, growth, etc, and, you know, actually, If we were to reach an agreement, we could both get those things, you know, that we wanted.

And even though it might not look how each of us thought it might look, um, but so I did ask a life coach, I said, will you facilitate a conversation where we have this discussion? So she said yes, and we all got together. Um, and she kind of, first of all said, look, why don't you share with each other what What you want out of life, what success looks like, etc, you know, we're very clear from then that we're on very different pages and, and I just said, look, I don't think that we can work together, that it will work well for us longer term to do this.

I am happy to walk away, you know, and I was, I genuinely [00:25:00] was. And, but I also knew, and it sounds awful to say, but I am just a realist, that this was facts, that if I left, that wasn't really a option for her, because I had built the business up to a point, and I think she would have struggled without me, and so, but I wanted to make it fair, of like, I'm saying either I will stay or go, you know.

I'm putting this on the table for you that then thought this becomes an option of either your you stay or go, so one of us has to do either thing. Um, you know, and there was a lot of tears, it was difficult, but it also was very quickly at the point of there is no going back. from a conversation like this.

So it's a bit of a play in the hand of it's not like we're going to have this conversation and go, Oh, I'll tell you what, forget all about it. And let's put it behind us. It forced someone to make a decision and say, we've got to move forward in one way or another. [00:26:00] And I was also like, I'm open to any options you want to put on the table as well.

But we have to move forward from kind of where we are. And and Yeah, kind of eventually it got to part where she was like, well, make me an offer. You know, if you make me an offer, then, then we can discuss it. And I did, and we agreed. And that was that, you know, it was a difficult couple of weeks, but it all happened very quickly, you know, from agreeing.

She didn't come back into the office. Um, we just told everyone, we got it all sorted. I did get a solicitor to kind of write up the paperwork and then I paid her. And I was very fortunate because I also appreciate not everyone just has money sat around to buy businesses. Um, that because of my circumstances, I had invested some of the money, um, that I'd got from my brother into property and me and my husband renovate houses on the side.

I also kind of knew I could make this offer because we were [00:27:00] about to sell a house that had a lot of, um, we'd made a lot of profit on, so I knew I had that money, you know, whereas actually if I hadn't been in that situation, I I would have done, you know, yeah, probably gone to the bank and seen if I could negotiate that, but I was very lucky that I did, I did have that, and also you use it.

So, yeah. Kind of whatever you can, we've just got the bounce back loan, you know, this was right at the start of COVID, so you use some of the bounce back loan to pay along with some of my own money and just made it work. I was like, well, from here, I've just got to make this work and figure it out and also say to my husband, look, please, can I have that money that we've just made and invest it into a business?

But this is going to pay off in the long run if I invest it into business. So, um, yeah, it was. A very, you know, bold move to make, but ultimately it was, was the right one.

Matt: It's really, what's really interesting listening to your story, uh, is there are, I know a lot of stories, including my [00:28:00] own in a lot of ways, where, um, a business partnership fails because people weren't brave enough to end it early enough, uh, if that makes sense. And you follow the natural conclusion, or you follow it down, and the natural conclusion is the, the, the partnership in effect fails, uh, and, uh, it fails either because the business fails or they fall out with each other or something happens, which, which means that it just sort of ended.

And, um, two years ago I sold one of my e commerce businesses, um, and that meant that there was a partnership that I had with a phenomenal. Couple actually, I love the bones off them, um, uh, good friends of mine, but that partnership came to an end and, and at, at that point in time, I remember sitting there thinking, it's probably a.

I love working with these guys, but it's probably the right time that it ended, if that makes sense. And as a result, we're still now really great friends. Had the business have carried on, would we be great friends now, or would that, would those little [00:29:00] things that were starting to niggle actually have built up over time?

And so spotting that early enough, like you did, is, is remarkably insightful. And then actually to say to your sister in law, I mean, this is not just, you know, a business, but this is your sister in law. Oh, I'm sorry, but this is, that, that's insightful and brave or foolhardy. And maybe a mixture of all of it, Claire.

And I, I, I'm, I'm sitting here going, this is, it's quite extraordinary that you managed to do that.

Claire: Yeah, and also, I just want to say, my sister in law, this is my husband's sister, it's not the wife of my dead brother, um, because that would be absolutely awful, and I've just realised if people don't know which side this could sound like I've just shafted this woman who's lost her husband, which it

Matt: Yeah, no, I did, I did write that down, but I kind of figured it out when she, when she had another child. I thought, oh, it's definitely not your brother's,

Claire: yeah, yeah.

Matt: yeah, yeah, okay,

Claire: But no, I mean, it [00:30:00] was an interesting one because my husband didn't want me to work with her to start with, because he didn't want it to ruin any family dynamic. And, you know, we did it anyway. And actually, you know, maybe in hindsight, we shouldn't have, like, I was in a vulnerable position saying, yeah, I'll work with you when I wasn't in the right frame of mind.

But actually, you know, I do think everything happens for a reason. And it all worked out for the best. And, and I had actually I'd always thought I wanted my own marketing agency, but I'd actually almost given up on that because I really liked client side and I'd worked in agencies before and didn't enjoy it.

And I was like, you know, maybe agency life isn't for me. Um, and all these things just came together and yeah, ultimately. It was, it had to be nipped in the bud. Just from a few things like of us working together and being like, this won't work long term and this could blow up to be something far worse.

We've got to kind of deal with it now and go through the difficulties and, you know, like say a few years on, everything's [00:31:00] fine. Whereas if we had. Spent years and years working together. It probably really would have affected the family dynamic. Because I'd be like, well, do I have to go around and see your family this weekend?

Because I've spent all week working with them and I want a break from it. You know, so actually that would have probably been far worse. Whereas now it was like, well... It suited us both at the time in our lives. We've both learned and grown from it and now we can get along great and family is fine. Um, but yeah, it, it, it can be difficult and I was at a kind of agency round table not so long ago and there was someone talking saying, you know, I've got these two business partners, they're ready to sell and kind of giving up now, whereas I want to really grow it.

And, you know, this person saying, how do I start having these conversations? Although, for me, I was really scared about doing it, until there was someone that was like, Oh, you could maybe help. Having been through that, I realised you just have to ask, you really do. Like, if you ever bring it to [00:32:00] the table, how can it be something that you expect other people to consider?

So, yeah, I just think naturally people are going to want different things at different times, and it's okay to grow apart from that and do something that, yes, may be a difficult thing. Conversation at the time, but ultimately gets the outcome that everyone needs.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. That's really powerful. Really powerful. So jump in tact slightly, um, the four day workweek. Tell me about that. What, what, what's going on there? I'm really, genuinely really curious about this as well. So, uh, I'm, I'm all ears.

Claire: So, this is one of the initiatives that at TRIO I implemented last year. So, in 2022 there was a pilot in the UK starting where businesses... We're going to try all the four day work week and this is not a condensed week, it is reduced working hours with no loss of pay, no loss of other benefits with the aim for people to be more [00:33:00] productive, more efficient and just generally happier.

So yeah, I'd kind of started last year looking at ways we could be more productive as a business generally and then came across the four day week and quite liked the Initial stats that I'd seen actually companies can be more productive, more profitable when people work less and just thought, you know what, I would have jumped at that if, if I had the opportunity as an employee.

So I want to offer that to my people and creating an amazing place to work is really, really important to me. So the more I found out about it, the more I thought, yeah, we should just go for this. So, um, the, the general rule is 100% pay, 80% of the time for 100% of the output. So we went through a lot of different webinars and workshops, looking at how we plan our time, how to be more efficient.

Um, one of the biggest things was, you know, we had people who were habitual overworkers going, hang on a minute. [00:34:00] If I'm going to be judged on my ability to get my work done in four days when I'm struggling to do it in five, am I in trouble? Because everyone just expects that everyone is going to love it, but actually there was really mixed feelings around it.

But when we actually looked at how we were spending time in the business, how we could be more efficient, we found 20% opportunity to become more efficient. That 20% of what was essentially wasted time was, well, 20% in a week is a day. So if we solve all that time wasting, you're not actually doing any more core work, the work

Matt: Mm.

Claire: required of you for your role.

So that then, you know, helps to shift people's mindset and get people on board with it. And during the six month trial, We had phenomenal results. We had record high sales months that we'd never seen before. Um, you know, which I really believe are as a result of people generally being happier and they perform better.

Um, and it worked so well. I mean, I had decided [00:35:00] anyway that if, if the trial went well, I wanted to do it for a further six months because I didn't feel that six months alone was long enough to make a permanent decision. I wanted to give it a year, but so we're just on the tail end of that now and I've announced the team that we're keeping it permanently because there's so many positive things that happened in our business over the past year.

You know, when I look and go, well, could I attribute those things to the four day week? I go, yeah, I probably could. And then any of the negative or challenging times, I go, were they a result of us doing four day week? Would that have been different if we were on five? And I think, well, no, so actually, ultimately, we've just gained so much from people being happier, healthier, performance is better, and It's put us on the map, you know, we had so much global media coverage off the back of it, which was amazing, that, yeah, there's just been so, so many positives from it, and, [00:36:00] you know, it is one of those things I think you need to work on, like, I've just redone a workshop with the team of, like, re looking at how we're spending our time and make sure we're spending it in the right places, but if I've got to do a kind of quarterly check in to do that, and actually people get to work So a much better work life balance, then that's, that's fine by me.

Matt: Wow, and again it all just sounds very simple and it's um,

Claire: It is, it's so easy.

Matt: absolute doddle. I guess my, my first question on this Claire is, do you personally work a four day week? I mean you're the founder, um, are you, are you doing this yourself or is this something that is for the team more than it is for you?

Claire: So I've got a slightly long answer to that, and I get asked it a lot. Um, the first thing I would say is, when we started, this was not something I could just pay lip service to, because if week one, [00:37:00] right guys, off you go, go have four days, and then I'm doing five, everyone's going to start looking around and going, you know, what's going on?

Okay, should I do five? If I want to get ahead, should I be doing five? Um, you know, and so, it's just really important for me to lead by example. So, yes, absolutely, I did four days, not five. Um, but it's not perfect, and especially as a business owner, I'm going to be the first one to work on that day. But I try, and...

Where I can have it a day working on the business rather than in the business if I choose to work. But actually I do find that I'm better rested and perform better when I have that day off. And I think there's a common thing of, oh, if you're a business owner, you just work seven days and everyone kind of glorifies this.

And I try not to do that. You know, I always try my weekends off. If work needs to be done, I will absolutely do it without biting an eyelid and I'll do it on a weekend. But I don't feel the need to tell anyone about it. But ultimately, I tend to have got all [00:38:00] my stuff done that I can enjoy time off, um, and It's surprising when you get into the flow of the four day week, how hard a five day week actually feels.

Um, it's, I really think we need to be working a four day week. Like, you just show up so much better. You feel so much better rested. You have so much more ideas. We've worked so much more on our strategy since we've been doing a four day week and members of the team, you know, will be voice noting on the day off because we're having loads of ideas and thinking about things that you just don't get the time within, you know, the normal working week So, yeah, it's, it's a bit, it's a bit of a mix and sometimes I work it, sometimes I don't but it's very nice to have that flexibility and also to kind of definitely have a day where other people don't expect to be in touch with me, me even if I still always publicly put out I don't work Fridays.

Matt: yeah, yeah.

Claire: So it's like, don't [00:39:00] contact me unless you really need me.

Matt: So the, what would, um, be your key, I mean you must get asked this question all the time. If I'm, if I'm listening to this podcast and thinking, this sounds like a really interesting idea and I'm going to meet it with a little bit of scepticism and a little bit of, oh this could be an interesting thing to think about. I guess what was the one piece of advice you would have given yourself, you know, a year ago, 18 months ago, when you started down this track, that maybe you didn't have that would be helpful? Um, um, you know, obviously you've learned a lot along the way, uh, but, but what would you, what would have really helped you at the beginning?

Claire: Well, one of the things I kind of figured out was you expect someone to be able to give you all the answers. And, you know, I've spoken to so many businesses who are interested in doing this and people kind of want a playbook of like, just tell me exactly how to do it and I can do that thing. But actually what you realize is there [00:40:00] is no one size fits all.

You have to do what is right for your business. You know, and it might not be perfect, and actually I've leaned into the, it not being perfect more recently, in that, do you know what, yeah, sometimes people work on the fifth day, but it's still a hell of a lot better than having to work every day. So if once in a while they do that, I've never had to ask anyone to work, but they choose to, because they go, do you know what, I'm busy, I'm going to get this done, I'm like, Yeah, fine.

Um, but I heard something in a webinar that I was doing about the four day week that I thought was really poignant when someone said the four day week didn't solve all our problems but it surfaced them and that is just so true because it gives you a catalyst for change, you know, if you have no reason to look at every single process, the way you work, the way people are, If you have no reason to do that, you'll keep doing the same thing.

Whereas the four day week became our reason to look at [00:41:00] everything and how we could be more productive, etc. And how many people then said to me, well, but you could have done all those things and people work five days a week. So then you could have got 120% productivity out of them. And I'm like, but that's not the point because the point is.

Get people to buy in on going on this journey with us with the fact that they get the reward of the four day week at the end and we just would have never looked at the things that we've looked at if we didn't have that reason.

Matt: um, Now, fair play. And do you, do you all take the same extra day off? Is it all, everybody's off on a Friday or do people choose?

Claire: No, so it was really important to me that we stay a five day week business and then when I looked at kind of how to split people up and what to to do, realised as well, that I think one of the main benefits is a three day weekend. So we just split the team in half, half do Monday to Thursday, half do Tuesday to Friday.

And it is set, so you know when your day off is, um, except if there's a bank holiday or something like that. When there's a bank holiday, you just work the [00:42:00] remaining four days in the week and everyone does that, so that it's still fair.

Matt: Okay.

Claire: Yeah, that's, that's what's worked best for us and it's worked nicely.

Matt: Well, that's absolutely fascinating, uh, Claire. And so I'm, I'm sure that people have got a lot of questions about this. Um, where did you go to, to find out more information? What were some great sources of information that helped you that people can maybe go check out? Or have you actually put together a resource that people can check out?

Claire: Well, funny you should say that,

Matt: Funny, funny I should, yeah.

Claire: you learned it all. Um, I mean, since the success of the four day week and also us gaining so much media coverage from it, I actually launched my own, like, Four day week planner like journal. Um, so you can go buy those and it has in it our own tips, um, for remaining productive and it plans out your day to be productive.

So they're available on Um, but then. Outside of that, I [00:43:00] mean, we were very fortunate. We joined the official trial with 4 Day Week Global, so we had tons of resources from them, so definitely check them out if you're interested. And also the work of Paul Holbrook, um, his business is the Diary Detox, was one of the most pivotal in us understanding how we were spending our time and how we could kind of change our mindset to be more efficient.

Matt: Yeah, fantastic. Well, we will check all of those out. We put links to all of those in the show notes as well. Um, Claire, listen, I've got to get to the question box because we're running out of time. So, I'll go and take another sidestep here. The question box, ladies and gentlemen, if you're unfamiliar with this, uh, you're new to the show, this is where I basically pull out a whole bunch of cards from a box, which are just all full of random questions.


Claire: Stop!

Matt: there, okay. Okay, so, um, this is, okay, [00:44:00] um, I, I, no, I'm gonna, we're gonna go for a different question because I feel that I need to see that one out of the box, it's not

Claire: Okay.

Matt: work. Let's go with the one behind it. So, uh, are you more attracted to a nomadic or settled life?

Claire: Um, I would say settled, probably. Um, as much as I would love to say nomadic, um, I think settled generally. You know, I like... My nice house, my car, my dog, my cat, my husband, not in no particular order. Um,

Matt: If it's listening to this show, it's the first shall be last and all that sort of stuff. Yeah, yeah, that's fine.

Claire: um, yeah, I like to go on nice holidays, but I don't think I could have, yeah, no, no settled place.

Matt: Let's settle. And have you, have you always sort of grown up in the same part of the world?

Claire: Yeah, I am Leeds, born and bred. [00:45:00] It's where I live now. I did go away for uni. I'm definitely, you know, open to travelling, but more in the form of going on nice holidays. That's how I see the world.

Matt: Mm.

Claire: So, yeah, but yeah, living in Leeds. It's funny because it's actually a running joke how much me and my husband move house because I mentioned we renovate houses and a lot of them we live in.

So actually, in the past ten years, I think we've lived in about six different places already. So, it's kind of semi settled in that home is

Matt: That's not settled. That's totally nomadic. What are you talking about? You're nomadic in Leeds, maybe.

Claire: yeah, yeah. the Leeds nomad, that's fine. Yeah.

Matt: The Leeds Nomad is a great podcast name. I'm just saying. Or like a blog title or something like that. The Leeds Nomad, I think would be. The Diary and Adventures of a... Property Developer and Entrepreneur in Leeds, um, I think would be fascinating, but yeah, I love that I'm [00:46:00] settled and I've moved six times in the last 10 years.

Claire: as I've got my things and the people I love around me, you know, so I like to have all of that, it doesn't really matter that it's one house to the next, you know.

Matt: That's, that's, that's brilliant. That's the best answer yet. Uh, I'm gonna just, it's, um, it's interesting, isn't it? I, I travel a lot. I, I do get about a fair bit. On Friday, this is, what day is it today? It's Monday, so in four days I'm heading out to the States. And I'll be gone for almost three weeks, um, but I always like to come back to a base.

I always, I like to go off, but I like to have a, I like to have an HQ. And I think for me, the thing about a nomadic lifestyle is someone who is going from place to place, but maybe doesn't have that base. Do you know what I mean? And, and I think I'm somewhere between the two. I like to get out and go to different places, but I like to have my base.

And I think as soon as my, my daughter is just going through her GCSEs, my two eldest boys, they, they buggered off there at uni now. Um, [00:47:00] And Zoe's just finishing her GCSE, so part of me wonders if and when she moves out, you know, and does the whole uni thing, whether I'll just, me and my wife will just go live abroad for several years in several different countries, but still keep the house here, you know, and anyway.

It's one of those things that I'll ponder probably more in a few years time when I can. Um, but no, I love that. So the property development game, um, are you, are you happy, are you glad that you've done that? I mean, you keep doing it, so you must enjoy the fact that, maybe enjoy is the wrong word, but you enjoy the benefits of what you guys are doing over the last 10 years, right?

Claire: Yeah, definitely. I mean, my husband is... Like, in the trade, so he's very hands on with it all, which is great. Um, it's actually funny because we decided to rent for a period of time, go just invest as much of the money in other properties as possible. We'll rent. And I actually missed, apparently, living in a building site.

So I was like, no, I miss it, like, I [00:48:00] want to be more involved. So we, yeah, went back to having, you know, not having a kitchen for five months and... All of that, so, I mean, luckily the house we're in now, the bathroom is actually getting fitted today, but it's the second bathroom, so we have, you know, a bathroom we can work with anyway.

Um, but yeah, like, like having something to do, like, I like the physical side of it, that actually I can switch off on a weekend and go paint a room or knock a wall down or something like that, like I do get satisfaction out of doing that as a hobby. But then, yeah, also, obviously, the financial benefits of it.

Uh, a good as well.

Matt: So we've, we now understand the real reason why you need to do a four day week, because you've got to spend three days a week renovating.

Claire: Oops, I've been caught out

Matt: Brilliant, brilliant. Claire, listen, I've thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. If people want to reach out to you, if they want to connect, what's the best way to do that? How do people get hold of you? [00:49:00] Of

Claire: Thanks Matt. And likewise, um, for contacting me the best place, probably LinkedIn, just search for Claire Daniels. Um, if you wanna contact the company, it's Um, and like say, yeah, we've got the if you wanna go look up that. I do have an Instagram for the property side as well, but you know what, just come. I'll be on LinkedIn first and we can,

Matt: course you do, why would you not? You own a media company, right? So, uh, no, that's awesome. So 4dayweekplanner.Com. Is that four with a number or four F O U R? The number four, so number four, dayweekplanner. com. Uh, we will of course link to Claire's LinkedIn 4dayweekplanner.Com website, whatever it is, uh, the trio media, trio media.

co. uk, they'll all be in the show notes as well. So, um, yeah, Claire, listen, um. Great, phenomenal conversation. I, I love, uh, the fact you're from Leeds. I love the direct [00:50:00] aspect of how you just talk. It's just awesome, uh, reminds me a lot of my dad, actually, that just sort of that Yorkshire aspect. She's just, is, is beautiful and totally inspired by your four day Yeah.

Uh, week idea and the fact that you, you've made these massive, bold, brave decisions as you've gone along and it seems to be paying dividends for you. So loving it, totally inspired. Thanks for coming on and sharing your story. It's been, it's been brilliant.

Claire: Thank you. Thanks for having me, Matt.

Matt: No problem. Thanks for coming on. What a great conversation with Claire.

If you would like to connect with her, if you'd like to know more, then obviously check out the show notes as well. Uh, but what a phenomenal conversation. Also a big shout out to today's show sponsor, Aurion Media. If you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.

com that's A U R I O N media. com. We will of course link to them as well as Claire in the show notes and be sure to follow Push To Be [00:51:00] More wherever you get your podcasts from because we've got yet more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them. And in case no one has told you yet today, you are welcome.

Awesome. Yes, you are. Just created awesome. So, burden you have to bear. Claire has to bear it, I've got to bear it, and you've got to bear it as well. Now, Push To Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favourite podcast app. The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin, and Tanya Hutsuliak.

Our theme music is by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, if you'd like to read the transcript or show notes, head over to the website. where. Coincidentally. You can also sign up to the weekly newsletter and get all of this good stuff. Direct your inbox totally for free. That's it from me.

That's it from Claire. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.