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Staff 'so much more productive' working four-day week at Reflect Digital in Maidstone

Bosses at a company believed to be the first in Kent to introduce a four-day working week say they have already noticed a boost in productivity.

Maidstone based Reflect Digital announced in September they were going to give staff the option of having a three-day weekend, every week, while still earning the same.

However, they do have to work longer hours on the days they are in the office, but workers have told KentOnline they are loving the change of routine.

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The Reflect Digital team have been working four-day weeks since October
The Reflect Digital team have been working four-day weeks since October

In all, 19 of the company's 21 staff have taken up the offer.

Gemma Kane, a senior account manager, said the switch has completely changed her work life balance.

She said: "I think it's made me so much more productive.

"I think the vibe in the office has changed, I think there's a few different things where it's had a knock-on effect and I look forward to Mondays.

"Monday's my day-off so I always look forward to Mondays rolling around, I can't wait for my long weekend basically."

Staff at Reflect Digital, which is based at Turkey Mill, were given the option of having either a Monday or Friday off.

Gemma has used her spare time to run a women's martial arts class every Monday morning.

She said: "The biggest thing for me is that I get dedicated time to myself on a Monday and I know it's coming round.

"It also changes my weekend, so things that I don't have to cram in at the weekend, I get to spend time with my other half and then Monday it's just me because I'm the only one at home.

"So, it's given me back loads of extra time back to do the things that I kind of want to do but also it's meant that I can start new things that I never would have been able to do before like the daytime classes."

Earlier this year, the TUC released a report calling for workers to benefit from improvements to technology enabling them to earn more but have a better work-life balance.

It said full time workers in the UK put in some of the longest hours in the EU, behind only Austria and Greece and rack up £32 billion worth of unpaid overtime.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: "Workers are having a hard time. They’ve suffered the longest pay squeeze in 200 years. Millions of people are stuck in insecure jobs and stressed out. And too many employers are using tech to treat workers unfairly.

"Bosses and shareholders must not be allowed to hoover up all the gains from new tech for themselves. Working people deserve their fair share – and that means using the gains from new tech to raise pay and allow more time with their families.

"If productivity gains from new technology are even half as good as promised, then the country can afford to make working lives better."

It is an idea backed by the chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, although Jo James says we all need a lot more self-discipline to stop checking our emails at home to improve our own work-life balance.

She said: "Technology has certainly changed the way in which we all work and changed our working patterns.

"No longer is the majority of work 9 - 5.30, our emails and our systems are available 24/7 through our laptops, our iPhones or other devices so the majority of us are putting in far more than a standard 37.5 hour week.

"Obviously it doesn't suit all businesses. It's not practical for companies that need to be available five days a week, but where it is practical I think it's good that businesses are looking at the work-life balance because I think it's important that this is something that's addressed."

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