A financial services company is currently piloting a four-day week with the aim of improving staff wellbeing by cultivating a better work-life balance and boosting productivity.
The Brighton and Amsterdam-based company, Accordance VAT, will be running the trial with volunteers for six weeks between July 1 – August 9, and said they are the first based in the UK within the financial services sector to do so.
The trial is part of a series of measures adopted by managing director Lucy Franklin, who was appointed earlier in the year. She said: “I am determined to make Accordance VAT more than just a place where people earn money. I want it to be a place of professional excellence, of personal fulfilment and stimulation.
“Measures like the four-day working week are an opportunity to trial a boost to satisfaction and productivity while showing that in our sector, working practices can be radically changed whilst client expectations and company needs are exceeded.
“We’re excited to be leading the field and look forward to seeing and hearing the results in the hope that this can be rolled out across the company more widely.”
According to recent polling by YouGov, two thirds of UK workers report feeling stressed or anxious at work.
It is thought that by making the working week shorter, there may be a beneficial impact to not just for staff satisfaction and well-being but also for employers by increasing productivity, staff retention and decreasing days taken off due to sickness.
Mark Moorton, head of people and development at Accordance VAT, said: “We know that in our sector, stress levels are high. This has an impact on well-being and can also impact on recruitment and diversity in the sector.
“We work hard at Accordance to ensure a positive work-life balance, and the four-day working week trial gives a further opportunity to bring the latest in working practices and innovation to the sector, while offering staff ways to be more satisfied, productive and happy at work.”
“Evidence from other industries shows that four-day working weeks have overwhelmingly positive results both for people and businesses alike. We’re looking forward to seeing the results at Accordance, and we’re proud to be making staff wellbeing our absolute priority.”
In February, it was reported that a New Zealand-based financial services company, Perpetual Guardian, made the switch permanent in November 2018, and since has seen a 20% raise in productivity and even an increase in profits.
The company switched its 240 employees from a 5-day week to a 4-day week and maintained their pay.
Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian’s founder and chief executive said: “This is an idea whose time has come.
“We need to get more companies to give it a go. They will be surprised at the improvement in their company, their staff and in their wider community.”
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