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Tech firm increases revenue by a third after giving staff Wednesdays off work

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 20-04-2019 James Cook
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A tech company in Australia has increased its revenue by a third after giving its employees every Wednesday off to relax. 

Melbourne-headquartered agency Versa, which develops software for Amazon and Google smart speakers, began asking its employees to only work 4 days a week last year. 

Chief executive Kathryn Blackham told ABC Australia that “we are three times more profitable than we were last year, we have grown by 30 or 40pc in the last year in terms of revenue, and we have got happier staff and who are much more productive.”

Versa employees work an average of 37.5 hours per work, with slightly extended working hours to make up for the removal of the Wednesday working day.

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Ms Blackburn said that she had experimented with allowing staff to work flexible schedules, but found that it caused issues with collaborative projects in the business. Eventually, she decided to remove the Wednesday working day for all employees.

Versa managing director Jonny Clow said that the new working week was “a shock” but added that employees arrive for work on Thursdays feeling enthusiastic, rather than tired.

Stevie Buckley, the co-founder of job website Honest Work, which is used by companies such as Snapchat to recruit for technology roles, said that eliminating working days as Versa has done can improve the diversity balance of people applying for jobs.

“There’s an increasing trend in the tech sector on results over hours worked,” he said.

“The potential benefits extend far beyond general staff satisfaction as more flexible working hours are also proven to help improve the diversity of candidates applying for jobs as well as long term increased employee retention rates.”

A study of British working hours carried out by the Trades Union Congress found that full-time employees work two and a half weeks more a year than the EU average.

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Full-time employees in Britain worked an average of 42 hours a week in 2018, the study found. That figure is higher than an average of 40.2 hours a week in Germany and 37.7 hours a week in Denmark.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said that “Britain’s long hours culture is nothing to be proud of. It’s robbing workers of a decent home life and time with their loved ones. Overwork, stress and exhaustion have become the new normal.”

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