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The CEO of a tech startup which trialled a four-day working week says the move made the business more successful while also looking after staff’s mental health.

Stevenage-based Civo, a pureplay cloud native service provider, has announced a permanent move to the model, with employees now working 34 hours, reduced from 36 hours. 

The shift means teams can work 8.5-hour days across four days, while they can choose to work 34 hours across five, should that approach work best for them.

“The experience of the last two years has changed how businesses think about the needs of employees forever,” says CEO Mark Boost. “Looking after employee welfare and mental health is no longer seen as a ‘nice-to-have’, but a fundamental aspect of a successful business model, and rightly so.

“Our adoption of the four-day work week came from the belief that by streamlining the working week, we could create a more productive and ultimately more successful organisation. I have been thrilled to see Civo staff embrace this flexible way of working. 

“Teams are more engaged and motivated, and crucially from a business perspective, we have seen no drop in the quality of work delivered. I am excited to see the company make the permanent shift to a four-day week, and look forward to the business continuing to scope out new and flexible ways of working.”

The company’s adoption of the four-day week comes at a time of growing evidence on the benefits of the scheme, within both professional and academic circles. In the UK, a total of 3,000 employees at 60 different companies will soon embark on the largest four-day week trial to date, running from June to December 2022.

Throughout Civo’s trial of the four-day week, the company measured and assessed how a shorter working week impacted both its employees’ well-being and business operations. The team widely embraced the move, with the flexible way of working supporting both continued retention and attraction of new staff.

Ian Banks, a site reliability engineer at Civo, says having an extra day off “really helps to alleviate pressures from inside and outside work”. He adds: “I can spend more time with my kids, get on with chores that could previously take up a whole Saturday or go for a walk and decompress. I would not be surprised to see a reduced work week become the norm in the not-so-distant future.”

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The firm is to trial other flexible working policies. In the first instance, the business is trialling uncapped employee holidays, and evaluating the impact of this policy for staff. 

The change will mean that, as long as they continue to meet objectives and it works with the rest of the business, Civo employees will have more flexibility to take the number of holidays that work for them.

“The uncapped holiday trial is a core part of our belief in the opportunities created by flexible working,” explains Boost. “As long as you get your job done, and it doesn’t impact the team or our customers, you should be able to take whatever holiday you feel is appropriate.”