By Jason Leigh, Head of Software Development
In a previous blog, Gareth Burns shared his story as the first employee to benefit from our new policy of a four-day working week for new fathers. Exploristics offer a four-day working week for a 10-week period following the 2 weeks paternity leave (with full pay). Gareth spoke about the many benefits of trialling this policy for him and his family, including the extra time he was able to spend with his new baby, the reduced stress levels, and the improved work-life balance.
A positive impact
Working with Gareth, the development team also saw the positive impact that the policy had on him and his family. From the team’s perspective, the policy also worked well and didn’t impact negatively on productivity. This is because the way it was implemented ensured:
- The team knew his working pattern, so could accommodate meetings and collaborative working time.
- Gareth could be more focused on the days when he was working, reducing the stress of conflicting demands on his time so he could deliver his projects more effectively.
The wider feedback
From a management perspective, it was encouraging to receive positive feedback on this policy from other employees, both within and beyond the development team. Many expressed an interest in benefiting from it in the future. As a result, we are retaining the policy to offer a four-day working week to all new fathers.
Meeting the challenges
Of course, there are some challenges associated with implementing a four-day working week. For example, it can be more difficult to ensure that all employees are still able to meet their deadlines and responsibilities, when to have meetings, and general information sharing. However, this can be overcome with thoughtful planning and consistent communication.
We took regular time with Gareth to assess his evolving situation, the planned work patterns, perceived capacity and current stress levels. This maintained a good understanding and allowed day-to-day planning and communication within the team to ensure no-one was negatively affected by the policy. This manner of working is something that we as a collaborative, supportive, agile team normally do. This aligns us well to support the four-day week for new fathers and address any potential impacts before they happen.
This policy, along with our flexible working approach, is a win-win for all. For the employee, and their family unit, it provides much-needed flexibility and support at a time when they are juggling the demands of a new baby and work commitments. For management, this policy has been a valuable addition to our employee benefits package and assists the company in:
- Increasing productivity at work for new parents
- Reducing absenteeism
- Improving employee morale
- Increasing attraction and retention of top talent
Bringing more balance
From a management perspective, with careful planning and communication, this policy can be a valuable addition to any workplace benefits package. It encourages a better work-life balance for all, and results in more engaged, energised, and happier teams.
Importantly, it also signals more widely that flexible working and childcare is not just an issue for female employees. Flexibility around parental leave and childcare concerns all parents. The introduction of policies that support more male engagement in caregiving provides another key steppingstone in the path towards greater gender equity in the workplace.