Holmes Miller embraces flexible working model
Holmes Miller, a Glasgow-based architectural firm, has officially transitioned to a nine-day fortnight after a successful trial period. The employee-driven decision aims to boost project collaboration, foster a positive office culture, and enhance work-life balance.
The 72-hour working fortnight, implemented at the start of January, involves a slight reduction in contracted hours without any loss of pay. A three-month trial phase preceded the formal adoption, ensuring no negative impact on project delivery or client services and gauging employee satisfaction.
Callum Houston, Managing Director at Holmes Miller, highlighted the goal of creating an inclusive and balanced work environment. The nine-day fortnight won the staff vote among various flexible working options.
“Our main aim with this change was to create an inclusive, welcoming, balanced work environment that maintains the wellbeing and job satisfaction of our high-calibre team. After considering several different flexible working pattern options, we took them to a staff vote, and the overwhelming winner was a nine-day fortnight.”
Benefits of the nine-day fortnight
The new working model offers several benefits for the staff and the firm. In addition to providing every tenth day off, the new working model incorporates core working hours, flexible start and finish times, off-peak travel advantages, and support for childcare responsibilities. Hybrid working credits allow occasional remote work.
Shazil Saleem, architectural assistant at Holmes Miller, shared the positive impact, stating, “Since the nine-day fortnight was introduced, I’ve been able to attend Friday prayers, learn new skills outside of work, attend appointments that don’t disrupt or take time out of my working hours and achieve an overall better work-life balance.”
Rachel George, another architectural assistant, emphasised improved rest and productivity: “I’ve been able to get more rest, which has positively affected my productivity during the week. It’s also allowed me to reconnect with old hobbies.”
A trendsetter in the industry
Holmes Miller is one of the first architectural firms in Scotland to adopt the nine-day fortnight, setting a trend for the industry. The firm, which has offices in London and China, is known for its innovative and award-winning projects, such as the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service headquarters, the Glasgow Women’s Library, and the Glasgow School of Art.
The firm is also involved in several major regeneration schemes in Glasgow, such as the Candleriggs Quarter, the Collegelands development, and the Glasgow City Innovation District. These projects aim to stitch the city together and create vibrant and sustainable communities.
Houston acknowledged the importance of collaborative work in a creative business. They noted that while hybrid working is prevalent post-pandemic, it may not deliver the best outcomes for staff and clients. The innovative approach prioritises health and wellbeing while maintaining optimal business performance.
“While hybrid working has become the post-pandemic norm, we felt the arrangement of our staff splitting their time between office and home wasn’t delivering the best outcome either for them or our clients. As a creative business, it’s important our staff can work collaboratively.”