Four Day Weeks and Flexible Working

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5 months ago by Sophie Stones

Four Day Weeks and Flexible Working

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“I always knew I wanted to work flexibly once I started a family. Having relocated whilst on maternity, I began my search for a new role. It was really important to find a company that would support part time working and Goodman Masson did just that. I work 4 days a week, so I get a day at home, to spend with my little boy! And the companywide, 3.30pm finish on Friday is also a great perk.  

Working flexibly really helps me to achieve that work life balance and enables me to have quality time with my family. It’s also great to know that there is the flexibility to leave early if you unexpectedly have to do the nursery pick up, or don’t want to miss your child’s first Christmas concert.

Goodman Masson’s flexible working policy, is a great companywide benefit that really helps to support employees achieve work life balance.” – Heather Evans, HR Advisor

 

The 5-day office bound job is a staple for a large percentage of us, however only a 3rd are currently happy with this set up. Sick of the commute, feeling ranging levels of guilt for leaving family, burning out trying to juggle it all, for many, traditional working hours no longer work. However often when we talk about flexible working, we’re only focusing on the most popular definition of the term; working from home, when the reality is that there is a whole range of changes that companies can be making in order to both attract and retain the very best calibre of employee.

For a lot of companies and for their people, the idea of establishing 4-day week contracts can seem a little intimidating, however Timewise say that with just a little bit of research and compromise, lowering the hours of workers can be rewarding for both parties. Originally seen as solely a benefit for mothers, more and more senior professionals are making the move to 80% contracts, and you can see from Timewise’s Power50 list that rather than having a detrimental effect on careers, it’s actually boosting them.

The list is comprised of people from all sectors who’ve reduced their hours successfully, from Deloitte LLP Partner, Katie Houldsworth, who’s successfully managed an 80% contract, as well as her 650 people for the last 18-months, to Global Director of Business Operations at Accenture, Robbie Gibbons, who along with using his extra 20% of time off to help raise his daughters, also acts a role model for others looking to achieve flexible working.

Here at Goodman Masson, our own policy is both flexible and open to change. Whilst the majority of our people still choose to work the full 5-days, whether in the office or from home, we’ve long operated a policy that the door is open to change, and our people are able to lead the way. From working remotely in Ireland to operating within a 4-day week, what works for them is what works for us. The key here is both trust and knowledge.

An issue which has persisted within flexible working is the expectation to cram five-days’ worth of work into four-days (and with a lower pay package), leading to longer hours and no real benefit to time spent at home. Navigating this can be tricky, which is why a partnership needs to exist between both company and colleagues, and we’re lucky that those who have chosen a different work week within Goodman Masson report no downsides at all.

Alice, our Director of People, works 4 days per week, 3 of which are in our office, whilst 1 is from home. We spoke to her about the benefits of working flexibly.

 

Why did you decide to work flexibly?

It allows me to do the nursery drop off and pick up and cut out my commute to have a bit of extra time with my son.

How does flexible working work for you?

I really appreciate being somewhere that allows me to work flexibly. For me, I use this to work from home which means that I can spend time on things that I’m not able to in the office as easily.

How has it helped you?  

Massively! I get so much done at home without distractions and feel like I can really get my head down on things that need my full concentration. As a trainer, most of my time is face to face with our people and doesn’t leave much opportunity to write sessions, prepare and get on top of my project work. It’s also a great time to work with our stakeholders not in the London office as this would be remote anyway and a bit less noisy than in the office!

What do you think about Goodman Masson’s policy?

I think the policy is really good, it’s really enabled me to work effectively and prioritise the right things at the right time. I like the fact that there are some guidelines in place, so you don’t lose the connectivity of working in the office with your colleagues, for example everyone needing to be present at our month end update.

Are there any downsides?

In terms of working flexibly for my role I can’t see any downsides really! I think if I was still a recruiter, I might miss the buzz of the team and information sharing in real time at the desk a bit.