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The nine-day fortnight: What could it mean for your office?

As the discourse surrounding work-life balance and flexible working continues to sit at the forefront of public conversation, there are consistently new methods emerging of how employers can help to support the wellbeing of their workforce. 

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill was passed on 20th July, making the right to request flexible working a day-one right for employees starting in a new job. Modified working patterns appear to be one of the most popular, with trials of a four-day week taking the world by storm earlier this year. However, the four-day week now has competition, as some workplaces have begun introducing a nine-day fortnight as their chosen working pattern.

How does the nine-day fortnight work?

The nine-day fortnight gives employees an option to compress the hours they would typically work across two weeks (ten working days) into nine working days, provided that they fulfil their contracted hours. For example, if an employee is contracted to work 7 hours each day (9am – 5pm, minus one hour for lunch), then they could work 9am – 6pm on seven days, 9am – 5pm on two days, and then take the final day of the fortnight off work.

What are the benefits?

In total, your employees will gain an extra 26-days off each year, but without working any less than their contracted hours. Therefore, it shouldn’t impede on the volume of work that gets completed. Being able to enjoy a three-day weekend every other week allows employees to feel refreshed and take more time for themselves away from the office. 

Demonstrating that you care about the wellbeing of your employees may lead to a boost in productivity, as your workforce begins to experience less burn-out, and increased job satisfaction, leading to an increased input of effort. 

While the main reason for implementing the nine-day fortnight is to support your employees, it’s hard to ignore the positive impact that it will have on your company’s image; supporting recruitment efforts and improving public perception.

Beginning to implement the nine-day fortnight…

Why not start by reaching out to your employees to register their interest in a trial of the nine-day fortnight? The model might not be ideal for every member of your team, so it would be a good idea to offer the choice. If some employees do choose to opt out, it’s important to emphasise that they can still change their mind at a later stage.

Problems could arise if employees in the same department are each out of the office on the same day. With this in mind, we would suggest implementing a rota for each department, so that people with similar responsibilities can cover each other. 

It is also a good idea to introduce a way of ensuring that employees continue to fulfil their required hours. Using a timesheet or clock-in app will help your workforce to keep track of the hours they should be working each day, so that there is no confusion over their schedule throughout the nine-day fortnight.

If you would like to discuss flexible working for your business in more detail, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Eleanor Taylor at [email protected].

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