The Big Question: Would you introduce flexible working hours for your staff?

The Weber Group is offering its staff the options of completing a week’s work in four ten-hour days, varying their start and finish times, working from home and working part-time

The Weber Group is offering its staff the options of completing a

week’s work in four ten-hour days, varying their start and finish times,

working from home and working part-time





MICHAEL MURPHY



Shandwick International



’The enlighted approach being taken by our sister company Weber to

flexible working hours has to be commended. There is no doubt the

technology space is different. At Shandwick International we have always

had an enlightened view and allowed people to work four days a week if

it suits their circumstances and can be managed within client needs. We

are also examining flexible benefits and other ways to make our firm a

great place to work. However, the client must come first and this is

increasingly becoming a 24-hours a day, seven days a week business

Needs vary depending on whether you are in financial PR, technology or

public affairs.’





ADDIE CHURCHILL



Talk Loud and Talk Luxury



’We like to think we have a bit of a lifestyle here rather than just

doing a job. It is not like working at a big corporation. We work hard

and probably go for drinks or something after work. I do not think that

flexible working hours would add anything for us. When people come in

here, I don’t think they do it just for the work. There is more to it

than that - people enjoy meeting and interacting with other people.

Being a youth and entertainment agency means that we have a different

way of running a business. The average age of our staff is 25 so we

don’t have people with children. Weber is doing this to be flexible to

those with family commitments.’





DONNA ZURCHER



Ogilvy PR



’In theory the concept sounds brilliant, but in practice I can’t see how

it would work. Here, rather than taking days off, we work from home

using laptops and e-mail. I think that we are moving to a more and more

flexible working environment and that people will be working from home a

lot more in the future. Flexible working hours would need to be tailored

to suit individual needs. I do not think we would have a large uptake if

we tried to do what Weber is doing. It is designed for people with

families and we do not have much of that. At this stage, I would not

introduce a policy like this. I like a healthy, buzzy office, which I

think is condusive to working well and being motivated.’





JAMES MAXWELL



Ketchum



’Weber is publicly using its flexible policy to retain staff. That is

shrewd. We have been doing it quietly but successfully for the past

three years and it works. We trust our people to get the job done very

well, as their lives, priorities and use of technologies change. It is

increasingly up to them how they choose to do that. We have mothers on

three or four day weeks, several ex-employees retained on freelance

contracts, and I myself work a flexible schedule while accommodating my

children’s holidays and needs. Our retention rate of key people, despite

two significant mergers in three years, is excellent and morale is high.

The whole nature of the contract between employee and employer is

changing and it’s right that it should.’



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