It may have been bank holiday on Friday, but Laduma insists that employees take additional time off every Friday (Fri-yay) to help them focus on combining work and life outside the office.

An award-winning tech consultancy is placing the happiness of employees above productivity by insisting they take time off on Fridays. Laduma, which uses cutting edge tech like VR and AR to create content for some of the world’s biggest brands, closes its offices around the world at 12.30 every Friday and gives staff the last Friday of the month completely off. Executives at the company hope the new policy will go some way to ensuring that all employees are able to find a balance between work and life.

Wayne Scholes, executive chairman of Laduma, explained his thinking behind what Laduma calls Fri-Yay.

“It’s extremely important to me that the people who work for Laduma are happy and enjoy the work they do.” he said. “Our people are at the core of what we do, we want to create an environment where they feel protected from the pressures of balancing the work that they do, with their time away from work.”

The issue of work-life balance is a key topic of discussion among mental health professionals. Studies show that work-related stress increases as people work longer hours. A recent report by You Gov indicates that one in five (21%) 25-34s in the UK feel they are failing to find that elusive work/life balance.

“Our people are at the core of what we do,” Scholes added. “It makes perfect sense that we look after our staff, ensure they feel supported. Fri-Yay is just one of a number of policies we have in place to achieve that. In return, we are seeing that productivity is going up and, as a result, revenue is on the rise.”

Employees of Laduma use the extra time off to do anything from spending time with family, catching up on household chores or even taking part in hobbies. The company shares images of their staff enjoying time off and spending time with loved ones. Encouraging others to truly switch off.

And Scholes believes other companies will benefit if they follow Laduma’s lead on Fri-Yay. “It’s important for any organisation to make sure they appreciate that employees may have young children or other responsibilities outside of work.” he said. “A little flexibility can go a long way. An extra half day could mean the difference between someone coming into work tired and stressed or rested and motivated. Fri-Yay means our team can have that time, switch off and we lose less people on sick days, for medical appointments. We have a team that feels ready to pull together and get the job done.”