Gett is a ground travel platform for businesses that puts clients’ preferred ride-hailing apps and car services in one place. It introduced Gett Flexi in August 2020. Gett’s global workforce of just under 1,000 employees can now choose whether they work four or five days a week.
Tyson Niemeyer, chief executive officer of Gett UK, says: “We thought about the culture we wanted to create, and it was about creating ultimate trust, flexibility and choice, most importantly. By offering employees a choice between a five- and a four-day working week, tied into remote working – do [they] want to work from home or in the office? – they really have a lot of flexibility. We asked ourselves: what is a compelling proposition which will bring top talent into the organisation? What will be a great retention tool?”
Gett’s employees are given the option to change their working pattern every quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, they can change between a four- and a five-day working week on a monthly basis, to help those who are homeschooling or performing other juggling acts in the pandemic.
The practicalities have been carefully thought through. As Niemeyer says: “We still have a business to run. Managers may really need their team in the office at certain times. We have a process in place for managers where they can ask their teams to come in for up to two days a week.”
However, flexible working, combined with the option of a four-day working week, has allowed employees to think about how they want to live. Having had conversations with their managers, a couple of people have relocated as far afield as Scotland, says Niemeyer.
At Gett, employees working a four-day week do accept a lower salary and holiday entitlement, but at a higher level than a 20% cut in time, says Niemeyer.
Around 25% of Gett’s employees are working a four-day week, although take-up has fluctuated. “Living under the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) situation, we have not seen a normal yet,” says Niemeyer. He anticipates uptake to be much higher in the summer months, whether this summer or 2022, when normal life resumes, and people can travel.
Careful consideration is needed to make four-day working weeks a success, advises Niemeyer. “This is the first time some managers have had to manage full-time employees remotely, so it is a combination of investing in people in [the] business and managers. For everyone, it’s important to learn how to stay productive and manage their time remotely.”
It is very easy to make people who are not in the office feel excluded from things, adds Niemeyer. Casual conversations in the room can make those on screen feel left out. “There are a lot of things [we] can do to avoid that: everyone can join on Zoom so the meeting looks and feels the same for everyone.”
Niemeyer concludes: “If [employers] offered flexibility five years ago, it was a huge perk. Especially in the last year and going forward in coming years, I don’t see it as a competitive advantage any more, it is a competitive necessity.”