EXCLUSIVE: Flight and hotel upgrade organisation Upgrade Pack has commenced a trial period in which its 24 employees will move to a four-day working week.
Marking its first year as an organisation, Upgrade Pack will now work on a compressed four-day, 38 hour basis. Previously, employees were contracted for 40 hours over five days.
Under the new system, staff will work 1.5 hours more each day, with the ability to decide for themselves on an earlier start, later finish or combination of the two. Existing lunch hours and breaks during the day will not be reduced.
Employees will see no reduction in their salaries, and holiday entitlements will continue to stand at five weeks. Employees will also continue to be entitled to three weeks in which they are allowed to work from another location, allowing them to travel without using their annual leave, as well as time off for volunteering.
The organisation’s Richmond-based office will officially be closed on Fridays, but any urgent work that needs to take place on this day can be offset against employees’ Monday to Thursday hours; this system is already in place regarding urgent weekend work.
The core aim of the initiative is to boost employees’ work-life balance, providing them with more opportunities to develop additional interests and engage in personal projects. In addition, Upgrade Pack aims to reduce sickness absence, improve productivity and business performance, and reduce its carbon footprint by limiting commuting hours.
The trial will last 10 weeks, ending in August 2019. It was communicated to employees by email, followed by an organisation-wide face-to-face meeting to allow staff to ask any further questions.
In the first week of June 2019, Upgrade Pack conducted an online, organisation-wide survey to gauge employee appetite for a compressed work week. The trial was unanimously supported, and the organisation shared the aggregate results with staff for transparency.
Upgrade Pack plans to run another survey later in the process to decide whether to continue with the new working pattern, and to contact clients to assess any of their concerns.
Craig Unsworth, chief executive officer at Upgrade Pack, said: “Employee wellbeing is one of the fundamental values on which Upgrade Pack was founded. As we continue to grow as a business, we want to make sure our employees have a healthy balance between work and life.
“Our new four-day week will not only further foster an already vibrant company culture, it will give us the best possible chance of retaining our talented team.”