You’ve heard of the four-day week. Now meet its slightly less fun but still fun younger brother: the nine-day fortnight. It’s taking workplaces by storm, with leaders touting this new model as a happy medium between burnout and excessive time off.
Its growing popularity is not surprising. The need for a dynamic approach to the changing landscape of the workplace is not just advisable, it is a necessity.
According to a Economist report, 59% of people say they would consider taking a job with a company that offers better wellness benefits than their current employer. But if the past few years have taught us anything, it is that there is no blueprint for flexible working.
Companies have experimented and continue to experiment with the models that seem best suited to their individual organization – from the new nine-day biweekly to full location flexibility; a remote-first policy to give employees flexibility when they work.
What is a nine-day fortnight?
The nine-day, two-week work pattern basically means that in 14 calendar days, nine of them are workdays and five are days off.
Employees get an extra day off every other week, often a Friday. Some companies ask employees to work more hours on the days they work to allow for the extra day off, or to take a small pay cut, usually around 10%. Others say this is not important to them as long as their output remains consistent.
What are the advantages?
The idea is that it is not only a nice deal for employees, but also for employers. Many of the benefits are similar to those of the four-day week, according to those who tested it.
Studies have shown that shortened working hours can even lead to higher productivity, which means higher corporate profits and better employee well-being.
It can also help reduce carbon emissions, improve gender equality in the workplace, tackle unemployment and lead to a better work-life balance.
Where did it get substantial buzz?
Global trials of flexible working models have been conducted post-Covid with mostly positive results. In Australia, for example, many workers switched to the nine-day format and took 10% pay cuts during the recession.
The model is also very common in British public bodies. Bee London Councilsis a 9-day fortnightly based on a compressed workweek, and allows staff to work nine days instead of ten over a two-week period, as long as the total number of hours worked matches the contractual hours.
And public practice, a company that provides services to support the public sector, has just completed a six-month, 9-day, two-week study in which it tested a number of approaches. This includes a 10% reduction in working hours, adjustments to the terms of employment and flexibility. Once the authority has made an analysis of the impact of the trial, it will decide whether to formally implement it.
Why should companies consider a 9-day period?
In short, it will be difficult to attract talent if you don’t offer some flexibility. Even for companies that haven’t considered a four-day week, nine-day fortnights may still work best in the long run.
For some workers, four-day weeks can feel quite intense. Alternating four- and five-day weeks provides a better balance. With a nine-fourteen-day window, employees can switch between work styles and adapt to their way of working based on the number of days their workweek has, while also enjoying improvements in quality of life.
Companies need to think creatively about what kind of custom work week works for them. Too often the options are presented as binary (a five-day or a four-day week), but there are many possible routes in between.
If you’re striving for a good work-life balance this year, it’s time to explore new ambitious career paths that also offer more attractive flexible work opportunities.
Employers that offer flexibility
If flexibility is important to you, or even new to you, it’s worth checking out positions at forward-thinking companies like Improbable on The House of Talent Job Board.
Flexibility is deeply ingrained in the values and culture of this British metaverse technology company and the majority of the workforce is hybrid. It currently has exciting job opportunities on offer such as Senior Backend Engineer and Senior Producer, both of which are fully remote.
If you’re looking to work for a company primarily focused on a hybrid working model, look no further than European e-commerce platform Zalando with vacancies currently available in Berlin for a Senior MicroStrategy Developer and a Project & Talent Development Manager in Ansbach.
Zalando’s hybrid working model is 60% remote working per week, as well as a commitment to flexible working hours. The icing on the cake is the possibility to work from abroad for 30 (working) days per calendar year.
Other leading companies, such as the German engineering firm Bertrandt AG, are also committed to promoting a good work-life balance model. Open positions for Squad Lead Software Development in both Ehningen and Hamburg come standard with options for mobile and flexible working hours, plus an attractive assurance of a high degree of freedom in team building and leadership.
Visit The House of Talent Job Board where you can now browse hundreds of job openings.