Insight

Is the IT channel ready to embrace the four-day week?

The past two years have seen innumerable – and in some cases permanent – changes to how we work. Channel partners have been forced to engage with both customers and vendors in new, ways when physical meetings were no longer an option. And as with every other industry, those firms needed to accommodate the needs of the new, remote workforce.

The past two years have seen innumerable – and in some cases permanent – changes to how we work. Channel partners have been forced to engage with both customers and vendors in new, ways when physical meetings were no longer an option. And as with every other industry, those firms needed to accommodate the needs of the new, remote workforce.

Even as we see more people returning to the office, a hybrid approach to work looks here to stay for many companies. But that’s not the only change.

News reached us this week of what may be the first UK channel firm to introduce a four-day working week.

Highgate IT Solutions says it is to trial the new four-day week from April 1. Adopting the 100:80:100 model, the trial will see Highgate commit to 100 percent pay, for 80 percent of time, in return for 100 percent productivity.

Highgate sales director, Bob Sahota explains why: “The last two years have been challenging for lots of us in many ways. It has provided us with new perspectives on life and emphasised the importance of two key areas: employee wellbeing and the value of time.

“For me, Highgate is more than a business or brand. It is our ever-evolving vision of what a harmonious work/life balance should look like, one without stress, pressure or anxiety. One that enables people to become the best version of themselves, inside and outside of work. By moving to a four-day week, we are giving everyone back the most valuable thing in life, time.”

Bob makes an important point. In the midst of the ‘great resignation’, employees are demanding more from their employers. The huge changes in our working lives mean they are now more in the driving seat when it comes to how, where and when they choose to work.

The good news is that organisations that have already made the move to a four-day working week have reported increases in performance and profit. As well as benefiting from an increased attraction to potential employees and higher employee retention rates.

Bob notes that there are plenty of potential commercial benefits of moving to a four-day week including increased revenue, increased productivity, lower staff turnover and attracting new talent – but says these things weren’t the motivator for the new four-day working week

“When you build a business focused purely on increasing turnover and profit by any means necessary, you can lose sight of what is really important, and for us the journey is more important than the destination. Employee wellbeing and their mental health is the keystone of our business and I strongly believe that a four-day week that consists of 28 hours will improve all of our lives” he says.

“Our service to customers will not be impacted, as our four-day working week has been designed with them in mind too. Days off will be staggered across the teams, meaning Highgate remains operational five days a week. It is very important to us that we continue to deliver the high level of service to our customers that they are used to”

There’s another benefit too, that channel partners may want to consider – helping the environment.

In February, Highgate announced they had been certified Carbon Neutral Plus. The company’s alliances manager & sustainability lead, Jenny Latimer notes: “moving to a four-day working week will help reduce our carbon emissions as a result of decreased energy use. Additionally, the time our teams get back allows them the chance to make environmentally positive changes, such as walking instead of driving.”

The new model certainly provides some food for thought and it will be interesting to see how many other channel firms will look to adopt the practice in the future.

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