9 Important Benefits to the 9-day Fortnight
This year, Encore Digital Media, the programmatic advertising specialist, introduced a flexible 9-day working fortnight scheme into its business model; a first for the media industry.
Co-founder and CEO, Daniel Shaw, took inspiration from many of the conversations taking place across the UK around the benefits flexible working can have for both employees and for the success of a business. Here he highlights 9 reasons why the 9-day fortnight is valuable to all at Encore Digital Media and why he thinks more businesses across all industries should be actively exploring flexible working.
- Wellbeing and mental health
Conversation is limited around flexible working in the media industry, which means there’s also little conversation around the epidemic of fatigue, stress and burnout.
Whilst implementing a flexible working scheme such as our 9-day fortnight isn’t the cure to these problems or any other mental health issues, it gives more headspace outside of work and balance within it. We try to help this by operating a strict ‘no emails’ policy on rest days.
- Breaking down barriers
Traditionally, flexible working is only offered to those who are seen to ‘need’ it; this is usually limited to parents and carers who need to work certain hours in order to fit with other responsibilities.
Operating a flexible working initiative for the whole team breaks down those barriers; it’s not just for parents, everyone is entitled to the choice of working flexibly; the office doesn’t have to close down once a fortnight, we still run 5 days a week and flexible working doesn’t lead to a dip in productivity, in fact, it’s more likely to increase it.
- Collaboration at work
We were asked if cutting down on working hours will lead to a more frantic working environment. It’s actually more likely that when employees are aware that workflow must be maintained over a shorter period of time, this encourages them to communicate and collaborate about their workload more often and more effectively.
For us, that means more regular team meetings, using up to date technology to file share and frequently checking in on one another to discuss projects and progress.
- Improve personal productivity
Sharing, collaboration and conversation will all lead to a more productive working environment but, not only does the 9-day fortnight allow for better team efficiency, it also encourages employees to take charge of their own personal productivity including:
- – Time management
- – Organisation
- – Task prioritisation
- Knowledge and up-skilling
Our flexible working scheme creates demand for staff to move out of their usual role to explore and be part of all of the different verticals we offer, including Finance, B2B and Automotive. This not only means a change from their usual routine, it also gives everyone the chance to use different skills as well as engage with new clients and contacts.
- Flexible working doesn’t mean turning off an ‘always-on’ working culture
In some cases, flexible working does mean that businesses do close the office for an extra day or two however, at Encore, we are part of an industry that is always-on, so it wouldn’t be practical to shut the office completely. However, working in the media industry doesn’t have to be synonymous with rigidity and inflexibility.
We work on a rotation basis, whereby each employee, from CEO to Junior Account Manager, has an extra weekday off every other week. This system not only means that the business is still open 5 days a week, it also ensures that employees don’t become further ingrained into a routine as they’re encouraged to take a different day off each fortnight.
With the right business structure, clear planning and an enthusiastic team, even always-on businesses can allow their employees to turn off more regularly.
- Creating a safe and honest working environment
We were keen to start having a conversation around mental health and the effect an always-on industry can have. By opening up and being honest about this within the office, we hope that it creates a safe and secure environment for employees to discuss how they’re feeling at work, how they’re managing their workload and if we’re helping them strike the right balance.
- Staff retention
A flexible office may be an attractive perk for any potential new employees however, flexible working schemes are, more importantly, about valuing who you already employ. They can be a great way of showing your employees that you care for their wellbeing as well as giving them an element of control over their working week.
Also, uniquely to Encore, we chose not to extend working hours to make up for the extra day off and salaries have not been frozen or reduced; it seems counter-intuitive to give a flexible working scheme to then simultaneously take something away.
- It should be work + life, not work vs life
We all know that we need to work to live, without a job how are we meant to be able to do all those things we love like spend time with family, holidays and hobbies? But, what the 9-day fortnight says is that people shouldn’t have to choose between work or life, the two should work harmoniously.
Our flexible working scheme, allows employees to be able to balance work and life more equally, reducing workplace stress and fatigue with the ability to spend more time outside of the office doing what they love.