Over the past couple of years while the pandemic was in full swing and the city was thrust into various seasons of lockdown and isolation, working from home became second nature for most. Since then, the team at Neo have been keen to investigate the pros – and potential cons – of keeping a flexible working environment in place for the team.

It is often said that a flexible working environment can benefit both employees and employers by improving productivity, work-life balance, job satisfaction, and retention, while also reducing costs and supporting diversity and inclusion.

Having heard of the world’s largest study on the four-day work week conducted in Britain last year, Neo decided to conduct its own study in-house. Initially the team were asked to provide suggestions on how a flexible working environment would work best for them. One idea proposed was a 9-day fortnight, Neo decided to take this a step further and have been trialing an 80hr fortnight since October.

The simplicity of the rule, i.e. timesheets to show 80hrs over a two-week period, how that is made up in terms of days and hours/day is up to the individual to manage. This gave the team ultimate trust and flexibility to manage their work responsibilities, commitments, and time. The trial was to ascertain how the team adapted and whether they’d want to continue with it long term.

The team collectively created and committed to a social contract defining the limits and expectations of the policy. Based upon the team’s feedback, and evaluation of the trial over the last 4 months, Neo intends to continue with this scheme.

Neo’s Managing Director Nigel Stevenson says, “We are a professional services company with a high-trust team. We wanted to give the team an opportunity to experience what a flexible working environment of their own design would be like. We gathered their input to create a trial from there. Due to this, they’ve been motivated to make it work and keep it in place.”

Neo’s Business Development General Manager Richie Murray, says the social contract developed includes items such as:

  • – Client requirements, such as meetings and deliverables, must not be affected.
  • – Conduct is in line with all other Neo policies and expectations i.e. Neo’s health and wellness focus e.g. regularly working more than 10hrs in any one day is not accepted as being in a staff members best interest.
  • – Within reason you must remain contactable – Flexible time under this policy is a benefit that needs to meet with other business requirements. If staff need to guarantee specific time off then they should book Annual Leave

Having spoken with the Neo team to hear how they have been enjoying their flexible working environment, here’s what they had to say:

  • – “It allows more flexibility when it comes to other commitments outside of work”
  • – “If people have a big week with deliverables this gives them the opportunity to use the flexible hours the following week”
  • – “I haven’t had any issues contacting any other staff members that have utilised the flexible hours and it hasn’t inhibited my workload or stalled my work till this day”