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Year Round Up: Learnings from New Ways of Working

Year Round Up: Learnings from New Ways of Working

Written by Eleonora Vanello

In the run-up to Christmas, we are sharing some of the learnings from the over 30 Productivity Club events and national conference that took place in 2022. Our final blog of the series will reflect on our New Ways of Working events.


The pandemic has offered the opportunity to revisit and reshape our working patterns. The traditional 9 to 5 in the office is evolving to allow more freedom for employees and for  employers to define their own approach to work. 

In our October Clubs we invited businesses to talk about new ways of working. In this blog, we will share some of the learnings, tips and experience of those who have embraced flexible working and four day work week approaches. 


Flexible working with Quorum Network Resources 

Andrew Watson, MD at Quorum Network Resources explains that ‘having a flexible culture from day one really helped us to attract great talent, break through the ceiling, maximise growth and profitability and keep our people healthy’. 

Andrew shared his learnings from offering flexible working patterns: 

  • It’s a philosophy not a shift pattern 
  • Its not a cover for bad culture 
  • It doesn’t work for everyone 
  • There will be problems to overcome 
  • Know your numbers when implementing (finances within the org) 
  • Don’t leave the decisions to people who aren’t fully informed (about finances etc) 

If you are considering going flexible, here his top tips: 

  • Know your culture and fix if necessary 
  • Strongly resist process 
  • Communicate  


There is no-one-size-fit-all working pattern with the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc 

Gill Simpson, Marketing and Communications Director at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc tells us about the ways of working: 

“Flexible working works for everyone is a way that suits them. We have a hugely productive team that gets things done.  Everyone likes to work differently, there’s no one set answer. Always try and see things from another person’s perspective and communicate – this is key.”

“We have absolute trust in our employees, we don’t have surveillance. Work-life balance is so important to us.”

Gill spoke about the burnout that can happen with flexible working too, explaining that people can find it hard to ‘switch off’ if working from home. She thinks that being aware of this as a manager is important. 

“It’s all about the people who work for you and communicating with them effectively.” 

Gill shared her learnings from offering new ways of working: 

  • It’s not perfect, it never will be. So don’t try to be. 
  • Everyone likes to work differently, there is no one set answer. 
  • People are creatures of habit. 
  • Always try to see things from their perspective. 
  • Start with flexibility and go from there. 
  • Always communicate – that is the key! 

Her top tips are: 

  • Communication is key 
  • Team building and valuing employees with different needs and preferences 
  • Flexibility and understanding what this means 


Four day work week with Administrate 

The Edinburgh based tech company Administrate was one of the first Scottish businesses to adopt a 4-day work week in 2015. The initial trial was set up for staff to work 32 hours over 4 days in flexible but structured schedules. Staff were paid the same as a 40-hour week and given a day back to invest in themselves. The benefits they found from the 4-day work week trial were: little to no impact on productivity, increased efficiency, greater staff retention and better attraction to candidates, and better use of staff time as no unnecessary meetings were held. The trial was so successful that it has now been fully adopted within the organisation.  

Jen Anderson, Head of People at Administrate, shared her 3 top tips for organisations thinking of adopting a 4-day work week: 

  • Involve your people in the decision-making and implementation processes
  • Take an agile approach. Be flexible, innovative and adapt to different phase of your business
  • Celebrate the 5th day (the non-working day)


For more information about Productivity Club Scotland’s upcoming events, please visit https://www.scdi.org.uk/events/

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