It becomes the biggest UK company to trial it, after hearing about success in New Zealand

Travelers-owned Simply Business is set to trial four-day working weeks, in a bid to improve productivity.

According to the Guardian, hundreds of operators in the Northampton call centre will switch from a 37.5 hour working week to a 30-hour working week instead.

Simply Business is not the first company to trial it, but are the first major insurance firm. And because of the scale, it is the largest UK company to make the move.

The trials are set to start in September this year.


Increase productivity

Debs Holland, the general manager of the Simply Business call centre, said: “Working in our contact centre is really hard. You have very little autonomy. In the rest of the business, people have significant flexibility. I believe we should create a world where they have the advantage we have.”

Bosses said that they recognised the nature of a job working in a call centre is “intense” and they hoped the change would improve staff wellbeing.

However, the business will require a 20% increase in productivity if performance is not to suffer. Bosses believe greater use of data analytics and web and email contact means fewer calls should be needed.

Kiwi inspiration

At first hesitant to try the new system, Simply Business sought advice from New Zealand-based financial services firm Perpetual Guardian (PG).

PG switched to the four-day week last year and claims it has increased productivity. The firm spoke with a number of UK firms in April to discuss the benefits.

Holland added: ”We’ve got lots of people who enjoy horse riding or go fishing but we also have lots of people with caring responsibilities. For them it is potentially life-changing.”