Champion Round-Up  |  31st August

Champion Round-Up | By Ged Cosgrove, group managing partner

As we bid farewell to summer and September beckons, let’s take a moment to embrace a new season filled with fresh beginnings. For us at Champion, it means celebrating exam success, welcoming a new intake of trainees, and embracing a big change in our working week, as our four-day trial is now well underway.

The case for the four-day week is compelling. As expert advisors, we are naturally drawn to any actionable change that promises to boost productivity while providing significant benefits for our highly valued team. We do, however, work in a service industry, providing support for clients as and when they require. So, the change has not been undertaken lightly and has required a great deal of forethought and preparation.

Our team members are working 35 hours over four days, rather than five. Their days off are most likely to be Monday or Friday, with at least 50 per cent of staff in every department available every working day, ensuring there is always a Champion colleague ready and able to help our clients.

The trial has two measures of success: can we maintain client service and continue overall productivity levels? So far, I’m pleased to report that the trial is going well. We are all hopeful of success because the benefits of setting the four-day week in stone are wide-reaching.

Reduced stress, burnout prevention and better mental health stand tall as undeniable advantages. The wellbeing of our team is paramount, and we are happy to disrupt the status quo in hope of achieving this. Beyond the mental health benefits of an improved work life balance are the practical benefits: less time spent commuting and lower childcare costs for working parents, amongst others.

Meanwhile, studies show that a four-day working week actually boosts productivity. Workers who feel better are more productive. This scales up: when moods across the business are buoyant, so too is output.

What’s more, the four-day week is an attractive offer in recruitment. We pride ourselves on employing and training excellent people, and this change will help us to keep our standards high – showing by our actions that we care about team wellbeing.

Which brings me to one of our most recent colleague success stories, and the qualification of Daniel Percey who joined us as a trainee in 2020. On behalf of our whole team, and particularly those in the Chester office, I’d like to congratulate Daniel, the latest Champion trainee to pass his final ACCA exams. He’s willing and able to lend his support right across the business, with a particular aptitude for audits. As we welcome new trainees into the business, I hope that his success serves as motivation for our latest recruits.

Daniel said: “Now that I‘ve qualified, I’m able to take a step back and see the bigger picture, taking stock of everything I’ve been working towards and where I’m heading. I’m looking forward to continuing to move forwards in my career, embracing new responsibilities and challenges as I progress.

“I can’t think of a better place to have completed my training than Champion. Exams and development are a clear priority for everyone here, with consideration given to the time and effort required for success. I know that’s not the norm and so I’m very appreciative.

“There is a culture of investing time into people here which is something I hope to replicate personally as my career progresses. I remember the first time that anyone invested their time into me and the difference that made. I hope to be able to be that person for others.

“I also find a real mutual respect runs throughout the office – I’d be just as likely to go for a pint with a junior as a manager. I’ve been able to learn from absolutely everybody throughout my traineeship, and I think that can only be a good thing.”

We wish Daniel all the best as he steps up in the business, and look forward to guiding our newest recruits as they carve out their careers here at Champion.