Salisbury’s WBR Group pioneers the future of work with four-day week

By Nick Batten on 31 May, 2024

WBR Group (WBR), which has offices in Salisbury and is the UK’s largest independent provider of SSAS services and tax experts, is pioneering the future of work with the introduction of a four-day working week.

Launched in January, this trailblazing initiative has been a resounding success, redefining productivity, employee well-being and work-life balance. So much so that CEO Tom Moore presented the benefits and challenges to business leaders, during an interview at the notable Wall Street Journal CEO Summit held this month in London.

WBR’s transition to a four-day working week is a strategic move to become the ‘employer of choice’ in Salisbury and the surrounding area, aiming to boost staff retention and recruitment while maintaining efficiency, positioning WBR as a beacon of excellence in the finance industry.

This initiative is known as the 100 | 80 | 100 model: that is 100 per cent productivity, for 80 per cent of the working week and with no loss of salary or other benefits. That is as long as productivity is at the levels needed to deliver excellent client service, each employee is awarded a fifth of their week as time off. 

For full-time employees that is a whole day to recharge and explore new horizons, part-time workers also benefit from this initiative with special rules ensuring equality and fairness. 

These gift days don’t apply during annual leave weeks, or when there is a public holiday. The changes are discretionary and not a contractual entitlement.

WBR’s feedback shows that employees are using their new-found time to embrace creativity, innovation, education, family time and rejuvenation. This unique approach ensures the Salisbury office and all other UK offices remain a hive of activity from Monday to Friday, preserving WBR’s commitment to exceptional service.

Research has shown that up to 30 per cent of a working week may not be productive or add value. WBR has used this research, coupled with training to optimise the working day, reduce time in meetings and other often simple techniques, driven by employees, to maintain or improve productivity and shorten the working week.

The rapid response to enquiries and personalised support provided are testament to WBRs unwavering dedication to the needs of its clients.

More focused teams

David Downie, Managing Director of SSAS and Actuarial at WBR Group, said, “Our decision to implement a four-day working week was inspired by extensive international research which showed that employees who have more time to rest and recharge are more productive during their working hours. The initiative has led to more focused teams, faster client response times and superior work quality. Our teams have been at the forefront of changes and this has been very much an employee-led implementation.

“The initial six-month review reveals that the four-day working week is improving employee wellbeing and fostering a more harmonious balance between work and personal life. So, we are seeing not only healthier and more motivated staff but also that they are significantly more productive and equipped and ready to meet post-pandemic challenges.”

Paige Holvey, Client Associate at WBR Group added, “Just a few weeks into the trial, I have found that I plan my work in advance more and structure my days better. This has come naturally to me, as I now look ahead at my availability, and I know what can and cannot be achieved. This in turn helps me manage expectations both internally and externally.

“I find that I am more open with my clients on when I will be available and feel confident giving achievable timeframes. Because I’m more confident with them, they’re more confident with me and overall seem happier with the level of service given. I’m grateful that the company are leading the four-day working week initiative and the benefits I have already felt from it have been brilliant.”