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Gloucestershire Business News

Firm's productivity increases after introducing four-day week

A Cotswold company is operating a permanent four-day working week following a successful trial.

Environmental consultants Tyler Grange, who have an office at Rendcomb, near Cirencester, found that since introducing a four-day working week, productivity increased by 102%, employees were happier, absenteeism fell and the firm was flooded with applications to work for the company.

Tyler Grange - which employs 100 people in its six offices nationwide - was one of 61 employers to take part in a trial scheme between June and December 2022, involving organisations across the UK ranging from a brewery to a fish and chip shop to recruitment firms.

At the end of the trial almost all of the 61 employers involved were keen to keep the new work pattern. Fifty-six businesses said they would continue with the four-day week, at least for now, while 18 said the policy was a permanent change.

A report assessing its impact found it had "extensive benefits", particularly for employees' well-being.

Its authors argue it could herald a shift in attitudes, meaning that before long we could all see a mid-week break or a three-day weekend as normal.

But for a four-day week on full pay to work across the economy, employers will need to see productivity gains.

A statement on Tyler Grange's website said the initial trials of four-day weeks from across the world had been overwhelmingly positive - generating improved productivity, higher efficiency, reduced staff absence and improved mental wellbeing.

"Following the completion of our own six-month trial, we've decided to make the four-day week permanent from the 1st December 2022," said the company, takes Fridays as an "additional non-working day".

"Change has been long overdue in our industry. Burnout and the fact that people who don't love their job as much as the day they started. Also, an escalating climate and cost of living crisis. Must we go on? These issues are commonplace in society as a whole - but particularly the built environment.

"New research by Henley Business School reports that companies that adopted a four-day week found that over three-quarters of staff (78%) were happier, less stressed (70%) and took fewer days off ill (62%).

"Furthermore, it is increasingly difficult to attract and retain the best employees, with most now seeking alternative ways of working. The four-day week initiative enables us to actively recruit the best performing individuals."

The environmental consultancy found it was producing 102% more work in four days than it did in five, along with a 70% reduction in absenteeism, with a team that is 18% less tired and 10% happier.

"We have also seen an increase of 60% traffic to our job vacancies page and a 534% increase in employment enquiries. That's why we want to continue to build a healthier future for our employees, community and the world."

Tyler Grange managing director Simon Ursell said: "The UK has an unhealthy culture where it is seen as a badge of honour to work all the time, yet our productivity levels are low and younger talent - as well as the brilliant talent that we want to attract at all levels of our business - doesn't want to be defined by a burnout life.

"We've always said that the four-day week isn't for everyone, but it's possible for many more sectors and companies - it simply requires re-thinking entrenched norms and changing workplace cultures. Trust is another key factor, but indications show that it's likely the four-day week will become more mainstream, which is simply brilliant.

"As more companies make the switch, more will certainly be inclined - or feel pressured - to do the same. We've already been approached by a number of businesses to share our advice and learnings - helping them to determine how they too can make the switch to a three-day weekend.

"We're able to demonstrate, first-hand, how challenges of the four-day working week can be overcome and the many holistic benefits that can be enjoyed as a result. Employers really shouldn't be afraid of it - they should embrace it.

"Change is uncomfortable and transitioning to a four-day week has provoked negative responses amongst some. I suppose that's the nature of it; that it's necessary to make people feel uncomfortable in order to change. We're here to do what's right for our people, planet, and our clients. We believe that making the four-day week permanent is the right thing to do, even if it's seen as disruptive."

Earlier this month, Punchline reported how Tyler Grange had launched two seasonal low-carbon and environmentally conscious beers  - Bramble and Solstice.

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