Gloucestershire-based public relations agency Radioactive PR has this week (Monday 3 September 2018) implemented a four-day working week for its 10 employees.
The change will see employees working Monday to Thursday and having Friday off work, while still earning the same full-time pay they currently receive for a five-day working week.
Employees’ annual leave allowance will be reduced by 20% to accommodate the change in working hours, decreasing from 25 days, plus eight bank holidays and the employee’s birthday, to 20 days. The organisation will also reduce lunch breaks to 45 minutes, instead of an hour, and on weeks including a bank holiday Monday, staff will be required to work on Friday so as to still complete their four working days.
Rich Leigh, founder at Radioactive PR, said: “Presenteeism is good for nothing and nobody, and I’ve long thought that overworking and unrealistic expectations on staff time runs counter to results, especially in an industry where, last year, 60% of people surveyed said they’d experienced mental ill health. More and more evidence speaks to a work-life balance that doesn’t impact on quality or effectiveness in certain business sectors and isn’t ‘just because it’s how everyone’s always done it’, and we’re in the fortunate position of being able to give it a go. It’s exciting.”
The new working hours are being introduced following a six-week trial, which ran between 25 June and 3 August 2018. During this period, staff reported that they had enjoyed a better work-life balance and felt more relaxed at home because of the new working pattern. The organisation surveyed both its staff and its business clients following the pilot, to investigate whether the four-day working week would be suitable moving forward.
Leigh added: “PR can be a creative but ultimately results-driven industry to work in, and, as evidence points to, isn’t without its stress. From small things like paid birthdays off and [an organisation]-wide Amazon account for staff to buy books they’re interested in or anything else they need or want to make their job or time easier, to bigger initiatives like the four-day week, I want the staff at their best. And to be at their best, they need the time and space to think. Work-life balance plays a huge role in this.”