A 9-day fortnight – Why MLC made the move

I have always believed that our employees are what makes MLC Partners special. They are a dedicated, incredibly knowledgeable bunch who care deeply about the people they work with. And so I know, because of this, they work very hard and are committed to delivering an excellent service.

Part of MLC’s values has always been to offer the best benefits to our employees to ensure we retain the top talent, and to date our staff retention rate is excellent. Our current team average is 3 years, and 6 members of our team have been with us longer than 5 years – this is a statistic I’m very proud of as the average role tenure across the UK is 1.6 years.

When Angharad joined the company in June, we started to build ambitious growth plans which included growing our teams and sectors significantly over the next 12 months. This naturally led to a discussion around the benefits we offer. We’re both proud that a lot of benefits don’t carry a monetary value – we offer true work/life balance, flexibility in working hours and location, a supportive and open working environment and we encourage all our team to undertake professional development and learning. And whilst all these things are great, we wanted to ensure our team were able to really get the most out of their downtime over the weekend, so they were heading into the week after refreshed and ready to bring their best selves to work. And so, the idea of a 9-day weekend was born.

Our entire team has been offered two options: Every other Friday off giving them a four-day week twice a month, or they can finish at 12 every Friday, giving them a free afternoon ahead of the weekend to do whatever they wish.

It’s been four weeks since we’ve rolled out the benefit and it has been well received by our team. The free time has allowed our staff to spend time with loved ones, run errands without interrupting their weekend, have some time to themselves without the responsibility of childcare, catch up with their gym classes or friends or play golf! The flexibility in taking the time as they need it has also meant it works for everyone on our team, and our services have remained undisrupted, which is the best of both worlds. Our clients and candidates continue to receive the first-class service they always have, and our team remains dedicated. If anything, we have to encourage them to take the time they’re now entitled to!

And as we continue to grow our client-facing and operational teams, being able to offer and talk about the benefits of a 9-day fortnight has been a great draw for brilliant talent and top industry minds.

For anyone who is perhaps considering rolling out a reduced hours scheme in their company, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Rather than seeing a dip in productivity, we have seen an uptick not just in output, but in morale, enthusiasm, and engagement. By effectively giving time back to our team, they are much more focused during the time they are at work because they are not worried about booking an eye test, or fitting in a gym class, or even panicking about catching up on life admin. They know they have that time, and our support, to make sure their work/life balance is right for them.