Over the past 18 months, the Covid-19 Pandemic took hold on a global spectrum altering many aspects of how people wish to live their lives. The entire world as we know it will never be the same again.
The gift of time will be paramount as modern working practices continue to evolve courtesy of the on-going IT and communications revolution across the globe.
People have already adapted to radical work practices and the progressive team at KBG Accountants, with offices in Cavan and Longford, have re-thought and re-evaluated how they conduct their business. KBG, one of the largest accountancy firms in the midlands, is a team of seven partners and over 40 team members, who are in business over 30 years.
KBG, a progressive, innovative and ambitious business, is now delighted to announce that it will be introducing a four-day working week, commencing in January 2022. The present 37.5 hour working week will be reduced to a 34-hour working week, with normal service for all their clients, continuing to operate five days a week.
The firm’s bright and spacious offices have been totally refurbished in recent times and affords the team a superb working environment.
Gift of time is invaluable
One of the partners in the KBG firm of accountants, Mark Reilly, says the gift of time is invaluable. Mark says that they are the first business locally to implement this initiative, with no reduction in pay.
“A four-day week benefits employees by striking a better work/life balance and can also improve productivity. It offers more flexible and family friendly working hours,” says Mark.
Holiday entitlement remains at 20 working days per year in addition to public holiday entitlements (nine days per year).
Mark feels this progressive change will be conducive to a more productive workforce and the team will also be more focussed and energised.
“KBG are always on the lookout for the best talent and the four-day week will provide a competitive edge,” says Mark.
Concept gaining momentum
The idea of introducing a four-day week is gaining acceptance in both Ireland and around the world. There is an Irish body and a global organisation promoting the transition to a four-day week. The Irish body is called ‘Four Day Week Ireland’.
Caroline Lee, KBG office manager, says that the Irish group launched a new pilot programme in June 2021 for employers to trial the effectiveness of a four-day week for their organisation.
Under the pilot programme, employers will introduce a four-day week for their employees over a six-month period, commencing in January 2022.
The pilot is part of an international collaboration with ‘4 Day Week Global’ and will run on a coordinated, parallel basis in a number of countries including Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
KBG is not part of the pilot programme in Ireland. The company has decided to progress the initiative themselves, being the first locally to launch it.
Working smarter – not longer
Commenting recently, Joe O’Connor, chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, said: “In the last year we have seen radical shifts in our working practices. More flexible ways of working are here to stay – essentially working smarter and not longer. This year has also given people a chance to reflect on what they value most and how they want to manage their working lives, and so now is absolutely the right time to rethink, review and change the way we do things, and move to a four-day week. We know from international research that a shorter working week doesn’t mean a loss in productivity – in many cases, it is the opposite.”
‘4Day Week GLOBAL’
Paddy Keavney, founding partner of KBG, says that Ireland is only now awakening to the fact that this is simply just going to happen. “It is now a question of being prepared for it.”
In March 2018, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand estate planning firm, started an eight week trial that involved all 240 team members and sought to test productivity, motivation and output by changing the work model to give every staff member a paid day off each week. The successful trial showed that productivity increased by 20%, staff satisfaction increased and staff stress levels decreased.
Having studied the success story in New Zealand and elsewhere, the KBG team decided to run with the initiative.
“There are times that we struggle massively to attract top-class new team members. There are lots of options out there for people and the offerings need to adapt to the changing environment. It is clear in the ever-changing labour environment, we have to think outside the box and make KBG a more attractive place to work to get ahead of the curve,” says Paddy.
KBG is a business committed to its team members and wants to continue to be an attractive place to work so that they can hold on to their very experienced and knowledgeable team.
Paddy points out that the four day week move is conducive to apprentice or trainee accountants progressing their studies in tandem with their work, as they will have a day off each week to study.
Health and well-being
Mark says the four-day week assists with promoting a better work life balance.
“It will help our team to take care of their health and wellbeing, which has come to the fore with Covid.
“They will have more time to support their loved ones. It is a win win for everybody – a win for the employer who will get more productivity, a win for team members who will have more time and ultimately a win for their families, who will see more of them,” he outlines.
Caroline says it is also interesting to note that Congress in America has recently put forward a bill, by Congressman Mark Takano, with the aim of introducing a 32-hour/ four-day work week. “If it is passed, it will benefit one hundred million workers,” she says.
In conclusion, KBG is delighted to announce this initiative, which offers so many benefits for the teams in Cavan and Longford.
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