TGIF: Inkhouse to give staffers every other Friday off

The firm’s “flexible Fridays” begin next year.

Inkhouse's Beth Monaghan will ask staffers to be available via text every other Friday, but not tied to email or Slack.
Inkhouse's Beth Monaghan will ask staffers to be available via text every other Friday, but not tied to email or Slack.

BOSTON: Inkhouse is launching a “flexible Fridays” initiative, giving employees every other Friday off, starting January 1, 2022. 

Staffers will alternate, with half of the agency taking one Friday off, and the other getting the next, said Inkhouse CEO Beth Monaghan. 

Employees who have the day off need to be available via text message for questions and emergencies, but not be on email or Slack. 

“We work in teams, so every client will always have team members working,” said Monaghan. 

Hiring and retaining employees are among the biggest challenges PR agencies are facing, especially those focused on technology, Monaghan said. She said firms are expected to have 40% average turnover in 2021, citing industry data, but Inkhouse is expecting 22%. That percentage is “only slightly higher” than what her firm expects in a normal year.

“A lot of business leaders just assumed once COVID was over that everyone would just want to go back to work,” she said. “But we realized workplaces weren’t awesome to begin with, and people actually don’t want to go back to the way they were before. We thought: ‘What can we do to improve our workplace culture?’”

That’s when the idea of a four-day work week came up. Monaghan said that she doesn’t believe PR professionals need a 40-hour work week to do their jobs. 

“When I started my career at a PR agency in 1997, we were busy building clip books and standing in front of fax machines,” she said. “That was a lot of busywork you don’t have to do anymore. Technology has made it possible for us to be more efficient and more effective at our jobs.” 

Monaghan added that, as a mother, she understands how important it is to have a job that is flexible.

“If we treat people well and give them space to pursue their passions outside of work, and to have flexibility to take care of themselves during work days when they need to, they will do much better work and we will have better clients for it,” she said.

Inkhouse is launching “flexible Fridays” in Q1 and will adjust the program as needed.

“We are excited and nervous to see how it goes, but nothing worth doing is easy, so let’s do it,” Monaghan said. 

The firm is also offering new benefits including the week of July 4 off, as well as the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day; 20 weeks of paid parental leave; two weeks of paid leave for those who experience the heartbreak of miscarriage or pregnancy loss in the first 20 weeks (after that period, the firm’s standard parental leave applies); and a $2,500 five-year anniversary bonus.

Existing perks that will continue at the firm include unlimited vacation; no email between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.; and a 10-year anniversary six-week sabbatical.

Inkhouse’s offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco and Seattle are open, but employees have the option of returning to the office or continuing to work from home.

“We have a core group that likes to come in,” said Monaghan. “We are doing events here and there, like we did a bake-off in our Boston office and 40 people showed up.”

Inkhouse posted $18.8 million in revenue last year, an 8% drop from the prior year, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2021.

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