News & Views
Why we don’t work Friday afternoons

In January we moved to a four and a half day working week. That’s right! We now work a whole 3 hours and 45 minutes a week less :)

Yes, we know the debate on flexible working is still ongoing. The importance of flexible working hours was recently highlighted in ADP’s People at Work Study 2023 . And its numerous benefits  are widely acknowledged by businesses and employees alike. Meanwhile, others aren’t so convinced and many employers are now insisting their staff return to the office, for three, four or even five days a week. The reason? There will be ineffective communication and missed  training opportunities when workers are remote.

Thing is, that lack of workplace flexibility could backfire, leading to workforce disengagement and high staff turnover. And who wants that?

Not us. We’ve had hybrid and part-time working in place for years – well before COVID forced full-time home-working upon us. Then, at the start of 2023, we took inspiration from the hugely successful 4 day week trial and moved to a four and a half day working week.

Investing in our talent

Like many businesses, we’re proud of our employees. We feel that good HARBOURites are definitely worth hanging on to and investing in. And with an increasingly volatile recruitment market, we’re keen to ensure we retain our talent.

As a smaller Essex-based business, we can’t offer soaring pay increases. What we can offer instead are alternative benefits like our recently launched Employee Share Ownership Scheme . Also, our colleague’s health and wellbeing is extremely important to us – especially post-COVID – so we have a comprehensive EAP scheme and private health, too.

And, of course, there’s our new shorter working week. Which – so far – has proven to be highly worthwhile. Maybe it’s down to the inclusive culture we’ve fostered over our 15 years of existence, but there hasn’t been a drop in productivity or ‘easing off’ since introducing the initiative six months ago.

In fact, by extending every HARBOURites weekend by just 4.75 hours, we have an even happier, more engaged and loyal workforce who are consistently keen to ensure we’re providing a top notch product and excellent client service.

We’re by no means unique in our flexible working approach, and in fact, it’s being positively encouraged. And with legislation changes due to take effect next year – allowing employees to request flexible working patterns from day one – our shorter week and hybrid working arrangements will be all the more ‘ordinary’, leaving us to focus the ‘extra’ on providing outstanding service to all our clients.

Our business hours are 8.45am-5.15pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.45am-12.30pm Friday.