The world’s biggest four-day working week trial with no loss in wages was launched last month around the UK. However, a Peterborough-based company is already way ahead of the curve, having introduced the new working trend back in February.

Digital insurance specialists iGO4 have made the four-day week available to its 300-plus employees, with no change in salary.

It’s no surprise that the move was unanimously approved, and the company – which is creating 100 new posts this year off the back of record trading – was happy to introduce the change in recognition of the strong preference shown for flexible working.

Almost unheard of pre-pandemic, employers in the region are becoming very aware that traditional ways of working don’t necessarily get the most out of staff. In fact, flexible trends, which help people juggle busy lifestyles and cut down on unnecessary expense, help boost morale and staff retention – crucial when skills shortages and staff turnover are at an all-time high.

In the long term, hybrid working is ‘no flash in the pan’. Instead it looks to have an enduring impact on the way we live and work, as iGO4 CEO and founder Matt Munro explained.

“We were extremely excited to be leading the way in offering a four-day working week, and know it’s created a buzz in Peterborough as we’re one of the first businesses in the UK to adopt it.”

He added: “Doing things differently is engrained in our culture and, coming out of the pandemic, we recognised we had the opportunity to take the positives from our Covid experience and create a new working environment that would make a genuine difference to people’s wellbeing and work-life balance.

“Equally importantly, we expect to see this move impacting positively on our productivity, and the customer experience we are able to offer, as colleagues come to work feeling happier and more refreshed.”

The four-day week is on top of a permanent move to hybrid working (part home and part office), with some permanent homeworking roles where this works for colleagues and the business.

Lee Hitchborn, Finance Controls Manager at iGO4, has already adapted to her new three-day weekends. She said: “I spent my first Friday off enjoying a bit of pampering and self-care, before surprising my niece and nephew by picking them up from school.

“I’ll be dedicating my Fridays to ‘life admin’, the weekly food shop, all the errands that are usually completed at the weekend – this means I can spend more time with family and friends, including a few extended breaks at the coast, now without the Friday night traffic.”

Munro added: “Covid has shattered many of the myths of the modern workplace. It taught us that we could be productive in a four-day week as we invested heavily in technology and introduced new ways of working, making ourselves more efficient and productive in the process. This gave us the confidence to explore seriously how we could continue to achieve the same customer and business outcomes while reducing colleagues’ hours and delivering the ultimate work-life balance.

“We consulted extensively within the business and held focus groups to validate new proposals. The result is a compelling proposition for both new starters and our longstanding team members, and we look forward to assessing its impact over the coming months.”

The move is part of a wider package of new benefits including private medical cover, enhanced maternity leave, fully paid paternity leave, and free parking at head office.

Health and wellbeing and supporting the local community are also high on the agenda, with every employee able to set aside two days for volunteering work. A company electric vehicle car scheme is available, as well as free fruit and drinks in the office.

Other existing benefits include up to six weeks’ holiday depending on length of service, shopping discounts, and cycle to work and wearables schemes.