The Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire are the latest organisation to trial the new ‘way of working’ and are set to join an increasing number of businesses considering the change.
OxLEP has today (8 March) announced that this spring, it will commence a four-day working week trial as part of a six-month pilot scheme, with the move set to support a continued improvement in the wellbeing of its staff.
As of 1 April – but operational from 3 April – directly-employed OxLEP staff working on a full-time basis will move to a 30-hour working week across four days, with the organisation operating between Monday and Thursday.
Its part-time staff will operate on pro-rata basis and there will be no reduction in pay for any OxLEP member of staff.
The pilot scheme will run through until 30 September this year with OxLEP receiving support and guidance from 4Day Week Global – a not-for-profit organisation that aims to encourage businesses, employees, researchers and governments around the world to better understand the benefits of a four-day working week.
The adoption of the pilot scheme also builds upon the successful implementation of a home-based digital working platform for OxLEP staff, which became active shortly following the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
The organisation will continue to retain its operational hub location at Harwell Campus in the south of the county.
WATCH: OxLEP announces it will take part in a four-day working week pilot scheme
OxLEP’s move to a four-day working week is driven by the company’s desire to be a stand-out ‘employer of choice’ in Oxfordshire and, in doing so, also improve its staff retention, recruitment capabilities and maintain its efficiency too.
The organisation believes that by embracing a four-day working week trial, it will also firmly place the wellbeing of its workforce at the ‘front and centre’ of everything they do.
OxLEP have added that the pilot scheme does not represent its teams delivering more work in less time, but creates a cultural shift, maintaining operational efficiency whilst working smarter.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Like many organisations operating in the current economic climate, retaining staff is key to our success. We believe that trialling a four-day working week can support our retention efforts, as well as helping to attract talented people to OxLEP too.
“By embracing a four-day working week, we believe this will support a continued improvement in the wellbeing of our staff and a stronger work-life balance, resulting in a healthy and motivated workforce better able to respond to the challenges of a post-pandemic environment.
“We also want to be a progressive employer – this approach underpins that ambition and reflects an emerging trend globally of realising the potential of individual and corporate capacity.”
The move to the four-day working week was approved by OxLEP’s Board last December and since then, the organisation has been working with staff and key stakeholders to ensure a smooth beginning to the pilot scheme – activity has included a training programme and access to specific resources for OxLEP staff, aimed at supporting the transition.
Throughout the pilot scheme, OxLEP will work with its staff and partners to analyse and understand how effective the four-day working week really is.
Professor Alistair Fitt – the incoming Chair of OxLEP – said that OxLEP will continue to ensure that its primary objective of supporting Oxfordshire’s business community, will remain its key priority, delivered through an agile approach backed by increased focus on using its digital channels to engage with even more of the county’s companies.
Professor Fitt said: “We believe an optimised approach through a four-day working week will maintain service delivery, offer focused interventions and maximise the use of technology to provide ‘wrap-around’ support.
“It is worth noting that over the past 18 to 24 months, we have invested – and will continue to invest – in our digital platforms and promotional plans, ensuring that as many businesses as possible who need our support are reached, being triaged and signposted accordingly. This will remain a major focus for our teams moving forward."
The past 12 months has seen a significant number of businesses embracing a four-day working week. Last June, 70 UK companies – representing around 3,300 workers – took part in pilot programme being led by 4 Day Week UK Campaign in partnership with the think tank, Autonomy.
OxLEP says it is keen to embrace new and innovative ways of working, with the four-day working week pilot scheme very much an extension of this thinking.
Nigel Tipple added: “We have historically encouraged our business community to look into different ways of achieving their goals and ambitions, or diversifying their approach to perhaps reach new markets or to attract great people to their respective companies.
“With this in mind, we are very pleased to be trialling this approach to work and will share our experience with Oxfordshire businesses – particularly those who are curious as to what a potential move to a four-day working week might mean to them.
“We would also encourage any Oxfordshire businesses who have, or plan to operate within a four-day working week model, to speak with us in the coming weeks and months so that we can share good practice, ideas and also create further collaborative opportunities moving forward.”
OxLEP will soon a release a podcast as part of its ‘OxTalks’ series highlighting the four-day working week trial.
You can download the following information pack to find out more on the pilot scheme and what it will mean for OxLEP and its key stakeholders.