Brighton headquartered MRL Consulting Group is thought to be the first international recruitment business to trial a four-day working week.
From mid-May, MRL will be closed on a Friday – but staff will still receive the same salaries and benefits.
The business, established locally in 1997, also has offices in France and Germany, which will also both change to a four-day week next month.
Speaking at the company’s AGM at the W Hotel in Barcelona, MRL Consulting Group Chief Executive David Stone said:
“We have a clear desire to enlarge our team of world class consultants, and to attract and retain the best people we need to be a world class employer.
“There are some incredible people that work for MRL, and I want us to give back to them – to make their lives better, easier and more fulfilling. We have the training in place, excellent packages and limitless career opportunities, but this is about wellness and minimising the things which can cause stress, anxiety and depression.”
According to the Department for Health, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. This, David says, means that employers need to take a greater responsibility to ensuring their support their people where possible.
“I don’t want to hire people who just want to work a four-day week, I want to hire people who are good enough to do five days of work in four.
“I want to give the staff more time to relax, get the life admin done, do whatever it is they need to do when they’re not in the office; I want them to have real work-life balance. When people retire, I want them to look back and say MRL was the best place they ever worked.”
As a result of the change, employees will receive an extra 47 fully paid days off per year.
“Workers in the UK face some of the longest hours in Europe, but productivity levels are among the lowest. Studies show that cutting the working hours encourages the team to be more efficient, and to use the time they’ve gained back more effectively.”
Indeed, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the average UK worker currently produces 16 per cent than those elsewhere in the G7. Much of this can be attributed to the long hours culture which sees workers typically putting in 10 hours overtime each week, taking only 34-minutes for lunch each day.
“Other firms that have implemented a four-day policy has seen significant productivity gains, and not just stood still,” said David.
The business is currently hiring consultants to add to their fast-growing team.