NEWS11 January 2024

MEL Research trials nine-day fortnight

News UK Wellbeing

UK – Research agency MEL Research has begun trialling a nine-day fortnight working model, set to last six months.

person planning dates in a calendar with a pencil and coloured sticky notes

As of 1st January 2024, the company’s staff members will have alternating Fridays off over the period of a fortnight, to keep the business open five days a week.

MEL Research will review the impact of the trial on the team, clients, and project outcomes via a baseline set of internal and external measures. The agency will carry out the pilot until the end of June, before considering a long-term implementation.

Staff will continue to receive full pay and the agency is not condensing their hours.

By adopting a nine-day fortnight, the company aims to reduce unscheduled absences, improve employee work-life balance and increase productivity.

Karen Etheridge, managing director at MEL Research, said: “We're not afraid to make big decisions and to take a test and learn approach. We believe that by adopting a work schedule that prioritises our employees’ well-being and work-life balance, we are not only reinforcing our commitment to our team but also enhancing our ability to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.

“When our team is healthier, more balanced, and motivated, they bring their best selves to their work, which in turn leads to higher quality, more insightful research solutions for our clients.”

The company is monitoring indicators including customer feedback, staff survey indicators and sales figures, along with more informal feedback from staff about the pilot, to evaluate the trial.

Elliot Simmonds, client solutions director, said: “We need to ensure our customer satisfaction levels do not drop, particularly around deliverables and communication with our clients, as well as meeting our financial targets for the year. We would hope that staff satisfaction levels increase across a range of different areas.”

Following the initial baseline for the trial, the company will carry out an “informal check-in” after three months in addition to a formal review after six months, according to Simmonds. “We know we are going to have to adapt and take a learning approach throughout,” Simmonds added.