Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

19.18 17 Sep 2020


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A company which has moved to a four-day working week says they made the change without any loss of pay.

ICE Group - which is based in Galway, but has offices in Limerick, Sligo and Sydney - made the switch over a year ago.

It comes as a new Forsa survey has found almost 77% of employees want the Government to explore the introduction of a shorter working week.

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Half of employers said they believe it would be feasible for them to move their workers to a four-day work week.

Margaret Cox, Director of ICE Group, told The Hard Shoulder their move to a shorter week has been a success.

The company offers recruitment, training and outsource business services, with a full-time staff of 58 people across all their offices, as well as an agency workforce of up to 1,500 people per week.

Ms Cox explained: "We started to talk about this [change] last year... we were preparing for the year 2019. Our focus was how to move forward on a journey of world-class service and delivery.

"We want into a planning phase, and then went live with our trial in July 2019. We reviewed it for January 2020 - and we've been going live since. We must be 14 months into it."

'Same amount of work in less time'

Ms Cox said there are challenges companies do need to work around, but the key to implementing a four-day week effectively is to be 'inventive'.

She said: "People work Monday-Thursday and they're off for a three day weekend, or they work Tuesday-Friday and they're off for a three day weekend. That's what works for us.

"It's a contract between the employee and employer. What we ask is that you do the same amount of work as you did before but you'll do it in less time... you get the same amount of pay.

"Everyone moved to the four-day week without any loss of pay. Our days have become slightly longer than they would have been, but overall our working week actually reduced."

She noted that their 39-hour week has been reduced to a 36-hour week as part of the change - meaning longer days, but still a shorter week overall.

For ICE Group, the move has been a success.

Ms Cox explained: "Since we introduced it, we've had zero unplanned attrition, a 12% decrease in our costs, a 30% increase in our sales, and 27% increase in our productivity.

"Our employee engagement ratings and wellness ratings have gone up across the board by in excess of 30%."

Main image: File photo. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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