London-based programmatic advertising specialist, Encore Digital Media, has launched a nine-day fortnight scheme, which it claims to be the first of its kind in the media industry.

The aim is to help support employee wellbeing and mental health as well as encouraging a more collaborative and communicative working environment.

Daniel Shaw, CEO and co-founder, took inspiration from many of the conversations taking place across the UK about the benefits of flexible working and integrated it into the Encore business.

“In the media industry, there’s little conversation around flexible working and because of that, there’s little discussion around topics like stress, fatigue and burnout – prominent issues”, Shaw said.

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“Not only do I want my staff to be able to be honest with how they’re feeling at work, I also want to give them the opportunity to have regular time-out to care for their physical and mental health.

“The nine-day fortnight is something we’ve meticulously researched and truly feel is a great way forward.”

Working on a rotating system, each employee, from CEO to Junior Account Manager, will have a weekday off every other week, the company said.

Strict ‘no emails’ policy

This system not only encourages a rest day where employees take time out with a strict ‘no emails’ policy but, it also ensures that employees don’t become further ingrained into a routine as they’re encouraged to take a different day off each fortnight.

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Encore Digital Media has also made the decision to make the scheme a no strings attached policy – employees do not have to freeze or forgo any of their salary, work longer hours or give up any holiday days.

“This new scheme is implemented to help all of our employees”, Shaw added. “Encore Digital Media isn’t expecting them to give something back in return for wellbeing support – to me, that seems counter-intuitive.”

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Guy O’Brien, COO and co-founder, also added; “The way we are implementing this means that not only are we focusing on mental health awareness in the workplace, we are also looking at how we can work together more efficiently.

“A nine-day fortnight will encourage everyone to knowledge-share and collaborate on projects so, at any point, a project can be left by one employee on their day off and be easily picked up by another.”

Encore may be right to claim its move as a media industry first in recent times, however, the nine-day fortnight was a common feature of the newspaper industry up until the 1980s, when technology and modern working practices did away with the benefit.