Company adopts four-day working week so staff can ‘focus on themselves’

A Wigan-based company is switching to a four-day working week after a successful trial proved a 'big hit' with staff.

The firm, Belmont Packaging, which specialises in plain and printed corrugated cardboard, has joined a growing trend of businesses adopting the new approach to working permanently.

The company, along with its e-commerce sister business, Boxed-Up, began trialling the four-day week in its manufacturing department in late 2019.

The trial began to give staff "more time to focus on themselves, their mental health and their loved ones" and proved to be an 'overwhelming success' and will now be rolled out to the rest of the business' 31 staff from September 20, BusinessLive reports.

Commercial manager Gareth Rollo said: “As well as valuing our customers, business trade partners and suppliers we also value our biggest assets, the employees whose hard work, commitment and dedication make our business the success it is.

"In order to further recognise this, and to lead the way in employee health and wellbeing, we are delighted to announce an industry-leading change to ways of working which is intended to give our employees a better work-life balance while allowing us to continue giving our customers the first-class products and service they are accustomed to."

The move comes after recent polls proved the majority of the UK working population would prefer a four-day working week, with a trial currently taking place in Scotland.

A North West business owner has taken to LinkedIn to vent her "controversial" views on the debate surrounding the four-day working week – saying that for small firms, "every single person counts".

Katherine Jones, director of Liverpool-based Think Wine Group, said while she doesn't "begrudge" staff taking time off.

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But she said she "can't sit here and pretend that I’m some saint business owner" who can allow a four-day week and "provide days off left, right and centre".

Her post has received hundreds of reactions and comments – and comes as the debate over the four-day working week rages on.

Polls have shown the majority of the UK working population want the Government to pilot the concept, as has happened in Scotland.

However, Ms Jones, who also runs influencer marketing agency We Are SN, said it won't be happening at either of her firms.

She wrote: "Who are these people who give their staff the day off because there’s a football or rugby game on? Or loads of additional holidays or are happy to introduce a four-day week?! Because it’s NOT ME.

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"We are a small team and every single person counts so as soon as there’s one missing it’s felt massively throughout.

"I also miss their little shiny personalities brightening up my day.

"We get through it of course, and I would never stop or begrudge them taking the time they need but I also can’t sit here and pretend that I’m some saint business owner whose more than happy to provide days off left right and centre and introduce four-day weeks. It feels like the whole of LinkedIn is currently preaching this?!"

Ms Jones, whose firm Think Wines has just launched a range of 200ml "baby bottles", added: "As a team we do loads of fun stuff together, from events to regatta races to London trips and trips to Ibiza we do it all (all with an element of work always included).

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"But I will not be jumping on this new bandwagon of ‘I’m the best boss on earth I offer days off left right and centre if you do not you are a slave driver’.

"I’m fair and understanding, but at the end of the day I’ve got a business to run, grow and scale and I want to provide the best possible customer service, which requires staff over tech.

"When I was an employee I’d work 12 hour days as an absolute minimum with no additional pay and I thought that was normal (it wasn’t) but working four days per week and having football games off is also not.

"A small business means all hands on deck, so in my opinion if you can’t take the heat then get out of the kitchen."

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