A new way of working

Housing association pilots a four-day working week

The team at Causeway Irish Housing Association            Credit Guy Bolongaro

A Tottenham based housing association is trialling a four-day week, in the hope that staff members will be happier, healthier and more productive.

The Causeway Irish Housing Association– a not-for-profit organisation that provides temporary accommodation and life skills for young single homeless people in London– is part way through the six-month pilot, which started at the beginning of last month.

The team of ten staff members have been able to opt into a 32-hour week, over the four-day period, whilst retaining their full-time salaries.

The impact on staff satisfaction, service delivery to tenants and organisational income and growth was assessed at the beginning of the trial, and at the mid-point, via a staff survey addressing work-life balance, and a tenant, telephone survey about customer service.The surveys will be conducted again at the end of the trial period.

If the results are largely positive, with no detriment to the service, the new working pattern is likely to become permanent– making the Causeway Irish Housing Association, one of the first associations in the UK housing sector to have a four-day working week.

Joanne Murray, Director of Causeway Irish Housing Association said: “We want to accommodate 21st century workers with 21st century lives.

“Our working culture and conditions were designed over 100 years ago for people who usually had someone else taking care of their domestic responsibilities.

“We want all our staff to have enough time for leisure during their leisure time.

“We would expect the lost hours to be those currently unproductive ones being spent physically present, but mentally elsewhere, or being stressed and off sick.”

The office, which has remained open five days a week, but with longer working hours, has allowed residents to meet staff outside the traditional 9am– 5pm arrangement.

Team member, Lorraine Miller said: “Having the opportunity to work a four-day week has been amazing for me.

“I am a parent, who without the four-day week found it impossible to collect my five-year old child from school or meet her teachers.

“I now have the time to meet my daughter’s teacher every Friday and catch up with how she is doing in school– my daughter is also very happy that I can collect her, like her friends’ mums do.

“I am now able to book all my appointments including the GP or repairs for my home on this day, without having to take time off work.”