Not ready for a 4-day work week? The nine-day fortnight could be for you

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Not ready for a 4-day work week? The nine-day fortnight could be for you

Suzie Coen

Story by

Suzie Coen

Suzie Coen is a Dubin-based writer with over 25 years of experience in the media industry. She is widely recognised for her work in the life Suzie Coen is a Dubin-based writer with over 25 years of experience in the media industry. She is widely recognised for her work in the lifestyle pages of prominent national and international publications and a host of luxury retail print and digital magazines.

You’ve heard of the four day week. Now, meet its slightly less fun but still a good time younger brother: the nine-day fortnight. It’s taking workplaces by storm, with leaders lauding this new model as a happy medium between burnout and excessive time off.

Its growing popularity is not surprising. The need for a dynamic approach to the changing landscape of the workplace isn’t just advisable, it’s a necessity.

According to an Economist report, 59% of people say they would consider taking a job with a company that offers better well-being benefits than their current employer. But, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that there isn’t a blueprint for flexible working policies.

Companies have experimented and continue to experiment with the models that seem best suited to their individual organisations — from the new nine day fortnight to complete location flexibility; a remote-first policy to offering employees flexibility around when they work.

What is a nine-day fortnight?

The nine-day fortnight working pattern effectively means that across 14 calendar days, nine of them are working days and five are days off.

Every other week, employees get an extra day off, often a Friday. Some companies ask employees to work longer hours on the days they’re working to allow for the extra day off, or to take a small pay cut—typically around 10%. Others say this isn’t important to them as long as their output remains consistent.

What are the benefits?

The idea is that it isn’t only a sweet deal for workers, but for employers too. Many of the benefits are similar to those of the four-day week, according to those who have tested it.

Studies have shown that reduced working hours can actually lead to higher productivity, meaning increased company profits, and improved well being among workers.

It could also help to reduce carbon emissions, improve gender equality in the workplace, help tackle unemployment and lead to a better work-life balance.

Where has it gotten substantial buzz?

Worldwide trials of flexible working models have been in operation post-Covid with mostly positive results. In Australia for instance, many workers moved to the nine-day format and took 10% pay cuts in the recession,

The model is also very common in the UK’s public sector bodies. At London Councils, a 9-day fortnight is based on a compressed working week, and allows staff to work nine working days instead of ten over a two week period—as long as the total number of hours worked meets contractual working hours.

And Public Practice, a company delivering services to support the public sector, has just concluded a six-month 9-day fortnight study where it trialled a number of approaches. These included a 10% reduction of working hours, benefits adjustments and flexibility. Once the body conducts an analysis on the impact of the trial, it will take a decision on whether it will be implemented formally.

Why should companies consider a 9-day fortnight?

Bottom line, it’s going to be hard to attract talent if you’re not offering some flexibility. Even for companies that haven’t considered four-day weeks, nine-day fortnights might work best in the long term anyway.

For some workers, four day weeks can feel quite intense. Alternating four and five-day weeks creates a better balance. With a nine-day fortnight, employees are able to switch between working styles and can adapt to how they work based on how many days their working week has, as well as enjoying quality of life improvements.

Businesses should think creatively about what type of adjusted work week works for them. Too often the options are presented as binary (a five-day or a four-day week), but there are lots of potential routes in between.

If you’re striving for a proper work-life balance this year, it’s time to explore new ambitious career paths that also offer more attractive flexible working opportunities.

Employers offering flexibility

If flexibility is key for you, or indeed new to you, it’s worth checking out roles at progressive companies like Improbable on The House of Talent Job Board.

Flexibility is deeply rooted in this British metaverse technology company’s values and culture and the majority of its workforce is hybrid. Right now it has exciting open positions on offer such as Senior Backend Engineer and a Senior Producer, both of which are entirely remote.

If you’re looking to work for a company that’s particularly focused on a hybrid work model, look no further than the European ecommerce platform Zalando with current openings in Berlin for a Senior MicroStrategy Developer and a Project & Talent Development Manager in Ansbach.

Zalando’s hybrid working model is 60% remote per week, as well as a commitment to flexible working hours. The cherry on the cake here is the opportunity to work from abroad for 30 (working) days per calendar year.

Other leading firms like the German engineer company Bertrandt AG are similarly dedicated to promoting a great work-life balance model. Open roles for Squad Lead Software Development in both Ehningen and in Hamburg come with options for mobile and flexible working hours as a standard, plus an attractive assurance of a high degree of freedom in team construction and leadership.

Head to The House of Talent Job Board where you can browse hundreds of jobs right now.

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