Four day week trial pays off for Bolton-based service business

WBR chief executive extolls 4 day week at event

Bolton-based WBR Group, the UK’s largest independent provider of SSAS services and tax experts, is pioneering the future of work with the introduction of a four-day working week.

Initially trialled in January, the initiative has resulted in improved productivity, employee well-being and work life balance, according to chief executive Tom Moore who presented the benefits and challenges to business leaders, during an interview at the notable Wall Street Journal CEO Summit held this month in London.

WBR’s transition to a four-day working week is designed to make the company the ‘employer of choice’ in Bolton and the surrounding area, aiming to boost staff retention and recruitment while maintaining efficiency, positioning WBR as a beacon of excellence in the finance industry.

This initiative is known as the 100 | 80 | 100 model: that is 100% productivity, for 80% of the working week and with no loss of salary or other benefits.  

Staff have to assure that productivity levels are the same level and awarded a fifth of their week as time off.

However, the gift days don’t apply during annual leave weeks, or when there is a public holiday. The changes are discretionary and not a contractual entitlement.

WBR’s feedback shows that employees are using their new-found time to embrace creativity, innovation, education, family time and rejuvenation. This unique approach ensures the Bolton office, and all other UK offices remain a hive of activity from Monday to Friday, preserving WBR’s commitment to exceptional service.

Jenni Heselwood, Head of SSAS Operations North, of WBR Group, said: “Our decision to implement a four-day working week was inspired by extensive international research which showed that employees who have more time to rest and recharge are more productive during their working hours. The initiative has led to more focused teams, faster client response times and superior work quality. Our teams have been at the forefront of changes and has been very much an employee-led implementation.

“The initial six-month review reveals that the four-day working week is improving employee wellbeing and fostering a more harmonious balance between work and personal life. So, we are seeing not only healthier and more motivated staff but also that they are significantly more productive and equipped and ready to meet post-pandemic challenges.”

Paige Holvey, Client Associate at WBR Group said: “Just a few weeks into the trial, I have found that I plan my work in advance more and structure my days better. This has come naturally to me, as I now look ahead at my availability, and I know what can and cannot be achieved. This in turn helps me manage expectations both internally and externally.

“I find that I am more open with my clients on when I will be available and feel confident giving achievable timeframes. Because I’m more confident with them, they’re more confident with me and overall seem happier with the level of service given. I’m grateful that the company are leading the four-day working week initiative and the benefits I have already felt from it have been brilliant.”