Tax consultancy Accordance VAT is piloting a compressed four-day working week for its 140 staff in Brighton in order to improve employee wellbeing and work-life balance.
The six-week pilot started on 1 July 2019 and will run until 9 August, followed by a second trial phase from 12 August 2019. Employee volunteers will work 7.45 hours per day, including a 45-minute lunch break, for four days a week.
During the pilot, employees’ holiday and benefits entitlement will remain the same, but pay will decrease; participating staff will be paid for 4.5 days of work. If the pilot proves successful and a four-day week is introduced permanently at Accordance VAT, salaries will remain in line with wages for full-time hours.
Staff taking part in the pilot will be writing blogs about their experience, to be published on the organisation’s website.
Lucy Franklin, managing director at Accordance VAT, 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 [while] client expectations and [organisational] 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 [business] more widely.”
The pilot has been introduced as part of a series of measures aimed at improving employee wellbeing and work-life balance. Accordance VAT, which also has an operating site in Amsterdam, provides staff with flexible working opportunities, a flexible benefits structure and a maternity and paternity allowance.
Mark Moorton, head of people and development at Accordance VAT, added: “We know that in our sector, stress levels are high. This has an impact on wellbeingand 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.”