St Albans architecture firm makes the switch to nine-day fortnight

St Albans architecture practice, Holmes Miller, has officially switched to a nine-day fortnight following a successful trial.

In an employee-led decision, Holmes Miller made the move to a 72-hour working fortnight which is a small reduction in contracted hours with no loss of pay - to aid project collaboration, enhance office culture and improve work-life balance for its employees.

Prior to formally adopting the nine-day-fortnight at the start of January, the firm – which also has an office in Glasgow - underwent a three-month trial period to test and refine the policy. This allowed them to ensure it had no negative impact on project delivery or reduction in client services, while also making sure employees felt satisfied with the new arrangements.

Callum Houston, managing director at Holmes Miller said: “Our main aim with this change was to create an inclusive, welcoming, balanced work environment that maintains the wellbeing and job satisfaction of our high-calibre team. After considering several different flexible working pattern options, we took them to a staff vote, and the overwhelming winner was a nine-day fortnight.

“The results we’ve seen from our initial trial have been positive, both in terms of employee satisfaction and overall service delivery. Implementing this new way of working has allowed our team to spend more time doing things they love – whether it be personal development, taking up a new hobby or just having the time for general ‘life admin’.

Shazil Saleem, architectural assistant at Holmes Miller said: “Since the nine-day-fortnight was introduced, I’ve been able to attend Friday prayers, learn new skills outside of work, attend appointments that don’t disrupt or take time out of my working hours and achieve an overall better work-life balance.”

A second employee, Rachel George, architectural assistant at Holmes Miller added “I’ve been able to get more rest which has positively affected by productivity during the week. It’s also allowed me to reconnect with old hobbies such as painting, sketching and clay modelling after five years.”

In addition to having every tenth day off, core working hours and varying start and finishing times were also adopted to allow the team to take advantage of off-peak travel while supporting childcare responsibilities.

Employees are also allocated flexible working credits which allow for occasional remote working.

Callum Houston continued: “While hybrid working has become the post-pandemic norm, we felt the arrangement of our staff splitting their time between office and home wasn’t delivering the best outcome either for them or our clients.

“As a creative business, it’s important our staff can work collaboratively – Teams calls can get you so far, but it can’t replace getting together with a roll of tracing paper and some thick pens to have a good old-fashioned brainstorm.

“Recognising the personal benefits of hybrid working and weaving remote working credits into our new working model has ensured health and wellbeing are prioritised, while maintaining maximum business performance.”

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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