Friday, 22 October 2021 16:30

Welcoming the four-day week

Written by  Sophie Preece
Jules Taylor Jules Taylor

Launching a four-day working week is about bringing more balance to life, says Marlborough winemaker Jules Taylor. "We think it's been a great success."

Jules and her husband George Elworthy, founders and owners of Jules Taylor Wines, decided to trial a shorter working week earlier this year, recognising that their staff have young families and partners with jobs, "so time in their lives is really precious".

In July they assessed the outcomes, and decided to "forge ahead", she says, noting that sustainability is a hot topic in the wine industry, and the "people pillar" is a key part of that for the company. "If our staff aren't well, how are they going to do their job well? This is part of us trying to get some more balance into everyone's lives and thereby hopefully having happy and motivated staff."

She says the day off - when kids are at school or pre-school and partners are working - allows for personal time, to do something for themselves or their community. "Completing personal admin during the week means weekends can be dedicated to family. Or a round of golf can be had guilt-free."

Everyone in the team comes to work on Mondays, enabling a "whole team meeting" when necessary. And the small team is flexible enough to schedule meetings around the days off, and to complete important tasks on their designated day off if necessary.

Jules reckons there's greater efficiency in the shorter number of hours worked. "It's not like we are in a production facility churning out a widget, so it's really hard for us to measure whether they are more productive. For us it's more 'is your job getting done and to a high standard?'"

There are several wine companies offering flexible time as another way of bringing balance, says Jules, "and any initiative that brings flexibility to people's lives has to be a good thing".

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