SOSE begins new way of working pilot 

South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) has today (Monday 2 October) started a new way of working pilot which aims to explore the potential benefits of a four day working week for staff, while SOSE remains a five day week organisation.

The 12-month pathfinder project will see staff at SOSE – the region’s economic and community development agency – work four day a week patterns, reducing their current working week by only three hours.

SOSE staff will continue to be available Monday to Friday to support, advise and guide businesses, social enterprises and community groups across the South of Scotland.

Data will be gathered and analysed throughout the pilot, which will be shared with the Scottish Government and public and private sector partners to help understand the benefits and challenges of this new way of working.

SOSE’s pathfinder project will form part of the Scottish Government’s four day working week pilot, announced in the Programme for Government last month and set to launch in full with a selection of other public bodies later this calendar year. 

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE, said:

“We are delighted to have been selected to take part in this 12-month pathfinder for the Scottish Government’s pilot to examine new ways of working.

“Since our establishment in April 2020, SOSE has aimed to be bold and ambitious for the South, as well as reflect the circumstances of the region.

"We believe taking part in this innovative pilot matches these values, and has the potential to provide benefits to our productivity, our workforce in terms of health and wellbeing, and allowing colleagues to contribute further to the regional economy.

“Well-being is at the heart of everything we do at SOSE, and we want to support our staff to be their best outside of work so they can be their best when they're at work.

“It is important to emphasise that SOSE will remain a five day week organisation throughout the pilot, with colleagues available Monday to Friday as they are now.

“Our level of service to the South of Scotland will not change, with colleagues continuing to work with and visit businesses, social enterprises, community groups and people across the region to help them thrive, grow and fulfil their potential.

“Gathering the evidence to understand the impact of this new way of working is absolutely crucial and we will do this from day one of the pilot.

“This will enable SOSE to provide further intelligence for evidence-based studies around this topic, such as the theory around there being a number of unproductive hours per day for organisations which operate the traditional five day working week.”

Wellbeing Economy and Fair Work Secretary Neil Gray  said:

“The Scottish Government will launch its public sector four day working week pilot later this year and work is at an advanced stage to engage a partner to design, support and produce an evaluation report. Confirmation of other public bodies taking part will be announced at the launch.

“We welcome the start of SOSE’s pathfinder project and will incorporate the insights and findings it provides into our pilot."

Notes to Editors

Additional information on SOSE’s new way of working pilot

·       As of 2 October 2023, SOSE has 141 employees operating across the South of Scotland.

·       SOSE’s employees will work a 32 hour week over the course of four days during the pilot.

Previous research into four day working week

A Four Day Working Week pilot took place between June and December 2022 with 61 UK businesses and almost 3,000 workers.

The findings included:

·       56 of the 61 companies deciding to retain a four day working week due to the benefits it presented

·       39% of employees were less stressed

·       71% had reduced levels of burnout by end of the pilot

·       Companies’ performance broadly stayed the same

·       A reduction of almost 60% in the number of staff leaving the participating companies

The full report on the pilot is available here.