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Norfolk Business Awards 2018

The East Anglian company where all staff take Fridays off

PUBLISHED: 17:43 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 18:22 10 September 2018

Blink SEO From left to right: James Macnamara, Sam Wright, Lucy-Kate Burton, Molly Willis. Credit James Macnamara

Blink SEO From left to right: James Macnamara, Sam Wright, Lucy-Kate Burton, Molly Willis. Credit James Macnamara

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A digital agency in Norwich claims that turnover is up 12% since all staff started working a four-day week.

A Norwich digital marketing agency has been implementing a four day working week for its staff since May.

But when the idea was first proposed by Blink SEO’s managing director, Sam Wright, his head of delivery, James Macnamara, assumed it was a prank.

“He decided to send me an article about the idea of four-day working weeks before midday on April Fool’s day,” said Mr Macnamara. “Naturally, I thought it was a joke. However, it wasn’t, and during April we did a lot of research and planning - I was obviously receptive to the idea!”

In May, a four-day working week was trialled for a month on their five core staff members.

“We put some targets in place for output and turnover and agreed we’d go ahead if they were met,” said Mr Wright. “There were a few teething problems of course, but overall it has been a smooth transition.”

Mr Macnamara claims that staff productivity has increased “because we are always working to eliminate time when deliverables aren’t being worked towards”.

He also said there had been a noticeable uptick in staff energy levels. “Each day is structured carefully with tasks that we expect to be completed. We discuss the day in the morning, and debrief and plan for the next day when we finish.

“However, we also don’t micromanage or watch over people’s shoulders. The spirit of the idea is to trust people to use their time for the company productively, and be rewarded for it with more time for their own personal development – we all have keen interests outside work.”

After the trial, Blink SEO decided to extend the working day from Monday to Thursday to 9 to 6pm, so staff are now contracted to work 34 hours a week, rather than 40. Holiday allowances have also correspondingly decreased.

Mr Wright claims that turnover is up by around 12% since before the switch. “It’s an ongoing process though – we’re constantly looking at ways to be more effective and efficient. This isn’t just a perk that we are offering, I genuinely believe it is a better way for us to operate.”

Read all about the TUC’s calls for all companies to enable staff to work four days a week, in light of technological advancements that should lighten our workloads here

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