Employers with outstanding records in flexible working and family support have been...read more
Donna Clapp uses the extra day a week she has after her company moved to a four-day week on full pay to volunteer for two local charities.
Donna Clapp is an enthusiastic convert to the four-day week. She is an account executive at PR firm Radioactive PR in Gloucester which moved to a four-day week on full pay after a trial last year.
Donna has been with the company, which won Workingmums.co.uk Top Employer Award for SMEs, for around a year and a half.
No-one at Radioactive PR works on a Friday, although they are on call in case of emergencies. The reduced week has freed Donna up to do voluntary work. When the four-day week first came in she says she was not doing much with her Fridays and decided she could use them better. So she went on a volunteering site and signed up with two charities. One is Listening Post, a mental health charity which offers affordable counselling. She works there for three hours every other Friday on administration and reception, but thinks she is likely to increase her hours.
She has also been doing work for Cheltenham Animal Shelter, helping with events. She finds the voluntary work personally enriching. “I am really happy to be able to contribute to something and give back on a Friday,” she says. “It’s an important part of my life and it gets me out meeting new people.”
Donna works 9am to 5.30pm from Monday to Thursday. The lunch hour has been shortened by 15 minutes to ensure all the work gets done in four days. She says working this way focuses the mind, but adds that it does not feel intensive. She also finds it more motivating.
Her work is very varied, involving everything from writing press releases, pitching to journalists and attending industry events to helping train interns. “It’s very mixed as we don’t do one type of PR,” she says.
In the past Fridays were quieter days, reserved for administrative tasks, but she finds that she can do all these jobs around her other work during the rest of the week. She adds that she still checks her email on Fridays and talks to clients on the company whatsapp group, which means everyone knows what is going on and no balls get dropped. “We have our out of office message on, but we say that we are not completely off the grid and people can call us if there is anything urgent,” she says. So far there have been few calls.
Donna says her friends who work at other companies are very jealous and that everyone in the office has now settled into the four-day week routine. “I can’t imagine not having a three-day weekend now,” she says.