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Nine-day fortnight could be a better alternative to a four-day week

Many businesses are now experimenting with a four-day week, but a nine-day fortnight may be a more viable alternative for some.

Software company Cloud9 Insight is offering employees a nine-day fortnight meaning they work Monday to Friday one week then Monday to Thursday the next, while only being asked to add 30 minutes to their normal working day.

This means the business loses just three hours per person every fortnight compared to a regular 9-to-5 week.

The worry with implementing a four-day work week every week was that staff would end up working much longer hours on work days and not being able to spend as much time as they want with their families.

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Carlene Jackson, CEO of Cloud9 Insight, stressed the importance of employees valuing their time outside of work.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "It's important that employees realise that life isn't about just making money. Our employees and our businesses have to be more connected with the community, with society and we need to give people the opportunity to have a better quality of life.

"I would love to encourage other business owners, especially those with professional services who are very fixed on this idea that time is money, to realise that actually you don't really have to get your employees to work the same hours, but just in less days. There is a better way and it's about trying to find a balance."

The UK's four-day working week trial, the largest-scale the country has ever seen, began in June this year and will run until December.

Many hope it may become a permanent fixture, and Jackson suggested government should seriously look at alternatives as other countries are already thinking ahead.

She added: "It's a critical thing that the government needs to be behind and encouraging. There's some very forward thinking countries out there like New Zealand and Iceland and I know even California has been trying to push larger organisations to work with a four-day week. I'm sure they'll get there but I think I would love to see more pilots out there."

Cloud9 Insight has also seen the nine-day fortnight concept as an opportunity to foster a greater learning culture within the business, as some Fridays will be used for learning and development.

Jackson added: "Sometimes if you're just busy with your day job, you forget to spend time on the things that will make you fit for future growth. If you look at businesses that have gone out of business, they failed to innovate.

"Innovation needs to include the ideas and creativity from people who are at the front of the business, not just senior people who might be one step removed from clients and the outside world.

"It's important that we tap into innovation for those people who are dealing day to day with customers, whether it's a sales team or whether it's my consultants."