'It's time for a quantum leap in our industry' - healthcare PR firm Synergy Vision rolls out four-day working week

Medical communications consultancy Synergy Vision is implementing a four-day working week without a reduction in pay.

Synergy Vision is launching a shorter working week.
Synergy Vision is launching a shorter working week.

The initiative, which officially rolls out in December, is designed to promote a healthier work-life balance for staff and help the agency reduce the use of freelancers.

The aim is to counter what Synergy Vision describes as a "industry-wide epidemic" of healthcare PR professionals leaving full-time work to achieve more flexible working patterns on freelance rates.

"When Henry Ford reduced the working week from six to five days because of improved productivity due to automation, everyone thought he was mad," Synergy Vision chief executive Ffyona Dawber said. "Now, parallels in efficiencies afforded to us by technology mean it is time for a quantum leap in our industry.

"We have the vision, critical mass and determination to make a four-day week work and improve our employees’ work-life balance. Importantly, we think clients will benefit, too, with longer working days increasing the time that teams are available."

PR’s overtime problem

Earlier this week, PRWeek revealed new research that found the PR industry is in the midst of an ‘overtime epidemic', working more than double the number of unpaid overtime days than the average British worker.

Office for National Statistics labour market data analysed by the TUC found 3.3 million UK employees work more than 48 hours a week, a rise of 250,000 since 2001.

Synergy Vision claims it is the first UK healthcare PR firm that is rolling out a four-day working week, but it is not the first across the industry.

In June, Gloucester-based indy Radioactive PR announced it was closing its doors on Fridays, which was a an extension of half-day Fridays.

In London, design agency Normally Design have been working four-day weeks for a couple of years, according to a BBC report.

Other PR firms have taken the approach of introducing unlimited annual leave policies - with mixed results.

At Synergy Vision, staff will work for 36 hours over a four-day period compared to 40 hours previously. They will receive the same salary and holiday allowance and usually have the same day off weekly, facilitating workload planning.

As part of the initiative, employees’ happiness and satisfaction are being measured throughout the six-month trial period, to evaluate the impact of the new policy on work/life balance.

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