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A Gloucestershire PR agency has become the first in the UK to institute a four-day work week without cutting staff pay after a six-week trial.
In June, Workingmums.co.uk interviewed Rich Leigh, the founder of Radioactive PR when he had just begun to pilot the four-day working week.
The trial ended on the 3rd August. Rich says feedback surveys for both staff and clients showed there was no detrimental impact on business and that all staff were happier as a result. So the decision was made to make the working pattern permanent, effective immediately.
During the trial, the agency won five new clients across different sectors and every staff member said they had enjoyed a better work-life balance and that they felt ‘more relaxed at home as a result of the trial’. All the company’s clients who gave feedback said they would be comfortable with the agency incorporating the four-day work week beyond the trial.
Rich said: “The most important thing for us was to ensure that client results didn’t suffer because of the four-day week, and the results are overwhelmingly positive. To that end and given that PR crises and enquiries can come in at any time – one year, my Christmas dinner was interrupted by a developing situation! – we made the promise to clients that should they need us, we’re available. During the trial, media enquiries did indeed come in, and not one got missed, amounting to no more than a few minutes’ work per team member each Friday. That’s no more than any given weekend.”
He added: “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. For me, I’d sooner take a hit on our margin by hiring earlier than push staff to capacity, as we continue to win new clients and grow. 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.”