Pro Drive IT is trialling a new flexible working week arrangement which, our research suggests, will provide benefits to both staff and clients …
By Chris Morrell, Operations Director
I’m going to start with a confession, I am inherently a very lazy person. Depending on how long you’ve known me this will or won’t come as a surprise. However, being married to an inspiring, totally non-lazy wife, owning a small MSP and having two amazing little girls has beaten any laziness out of me.
But I think that core behaviour has never totally left me and is why I have always been so interested when I hear or see anything about a four-day working week. From my very first job the idea of working five days and having two days off always seemed skewed the wrong way. With a young family that imbalance is even more evident.
So I have watched the rise of the four-day working week with interest and jealousy, as I never saw how we could make it work in the Service Desk at Pro Drive. Every article I read about how it improved wellbeing AND productivity made me even more motivated to find a way to make it work here.
After researching and investigating it all thoroughly, I’m excited and proud that at Pro Drive IT we are trialling a new flexible working week arrangement which, our research suggests, will provide benefits to both staff and clients …
Some of the team at an awards finals.
We have decided to give our team every other Friday afternoon off, split between groups, so that individuals have alternating weeks, starting this month. Part-time staff have an equivalent arrangement.
This is the first step towards a four-day working week. I honestly don’t know if we will get all the way to that goal, or quite what it will look like, but I do believe that this first step will benefit our staff and clients.
Why are we trialling a flexible working week?
It’s not just my laziness and desire for a better work / life balance; COVID-19 has been the catalyst for many businesses adopting a hybrid approach to working to give their staff more flexibility – working at home as well as in the office. Well, that’s great BUT …
- We’re forward-thinking … we were already encouraging staff to work at home most of the time, to focus on projects, training etc – but also using flex time to accommodate caring for relatives, do school-related activities etc.
- It can be difficult to achieve a good Work/Life balance when hybrid working online. When you’re at home it’s really hard to switch off from being ‘at work’. The commute, while rightly hated, does give people time and space to separate from work physically and mentally. And, wherever you’re working, too much staring at a computer screen can, literally, give you a headache.
- We’re ready to go further because being flexible pays off! We track, via Office Vibe, how successful our various employee initiatives are as part of our Leadership KPIs and have a target score of 8 = people are very happy working here. Our current score is 8.7, indicating Pro Drive is a nice place to be. And we know that’s partly down to our flexibility. But we want to be better.
- Research shows that a 4-day working week improves staff wellbeing, engagement and productivity. The world’s largest-ever trial of a four-day working week in Iceland was judged an “overwhelming success”. It featured 2,5000 employees in many settings including schools, hospitals and offices. The results found productivity and wellbeing improved for all the workers who took part.
Better for our clients
We are ‘on call’ and ‘on contract’! So, while we are flexible, we’re realistic. It is incredibly important that this change doesn’t affect the service we deliver to our clients. The ideal would be that nobody outside Pro Drive ever really notices the change at all. We will continue to support our clients as per our contracts and we are determined that this does not affect the speed of our response to them.
Our team work incredibly hard to achieve good results. Our Net Promoter Score, from feedback from our clients, averages over 75, consistently above average (44) for our sector, which we’re chuffed about but always want to improve.
To reiterate, we’ve researched the new arrangement thoroughly to be sure it can succeed before starting our trial.
The benefits of our flexible working week to our clients will be:
- We’ll be smarter and more efficient with our working time.
- We should be able to attract more of the best talent and high performers to help you.
- Our team will approach their work feeling more motivated, proactive and fresh.
What research did we do?
Our research included analysing the business models of other successful companies offering a flexible working week and discussing it with our stakeholders.
We analysed all our data on tickets and incoming phone calls and found that there was a massive drop off on most afternoons but especially Fridays, and particularly Friday afternoons. That’s why we decided to start by trialling giving the team every other Friday afternoon off, beginning this month.
It will be a trial and – if it goes well – we aim, eventually, to move to a four-day week. As I mentioned we have a rough ‘road map’ to take us there – but one safe step at a time!
If you’ve got any experience of a four-day working week, or are thinking about how you can make it work in your business I’d love to hear about it.
If you would like to join us, either as a client or as part of our technical team, why not contact us on the form below.
Chris Morrell has worked at Pro Drive since the beginning, working his way through most roles in the business to become responsible for day-to-day operations. He has an enthusiasm for technology and a fondness for plain speaking. He is charged with maintaining our service delivery to the highest standard and believes that our clients should always be involved and engaged.
Despite being kept busy with a young family, Chris is a keen participant in a local squash league and still manages to pursue his passion for snowboarding.