Telum Talks To... Peter de Kretser, Chief Executive Officer, GO Communications
Effective March 2020, GO Communications implemented a 4.5 day work week for its staff, as its office will be observing 9am to 1pm as its official working hours on Fridays. This week, Telum caught up with its CEO Peter de Kretser, to get his thoughts on the implementation of the shorter work week.
What inspired GO Communications to implement a shorter work week?
The agency has always been adaptable and open to positive change. Shorter work weeks for us simply made sense. After conducting our own research and analysis we concluded this approach would greatly benefit the agency and its colleagues for a variety of reasons. It will prevent burnout and fatigue while boosting productivity levels by enabling the team to work effectively with efficient time management. It also serves as a mechanism to retain and attract the best talent and ultimately provide our team with “real” work-life balance. As we embark towards a true generational change and mindset, we feel it is our responsibility to provide the most conducive environment to enhance the quality of work and build upon a dynamic, positive work culture.
The PR industry is notorious for its fast-paced nature. What are some of the challenges GO Communications will encounter as part of the process of implementing a shorter work week?
I’m of the opinion that you can work seven days a week and still encounter issues in the public relations industry! Ours is fundamentally a “people” business and while it might be potentially fraught with challenges, that’s also the beauty of it. At GO we’ve always been very transparent with our clients and we see this as a major benefit to both sides of the equation.
Do you think there will be any thoughts from the perspective of clients regarding a shorter work week?
Most certainly! As a matter of fact, many of our clients have welcomed the news and celebrated the move with us. Prior to the implementation of short work weeks, we encouraged feedback from our long-standing clients and the majority, if not all, were very supportive. It’s now up to us to prove the system works by delivering better results!
Can you share some of your thoughts on work-life balance regarding the comms industry in Malaysia specifically?
I believe many agencies and companies are implementing their own systems to further boost work-life balance - which is great! At the end of the day it’s what you believe works best for the organisation and its people.
Aside from a shorter work week, are there any other measures GO Communications believe will be great for encouraging a work-life balance while increasing productivity?
We’re always looking at ways and means to improve ourselves as a company. Over the years the agency has trialled and / or implemented several initiatives to improve both culture and productivity. We have found that colleague engagement (both individually and or collectively) through a variety of activities works well for us. We sometimes forget that we are in the communications business where the most important means of communication should start internally, first and foremost. One of our more successful initiatives was a recent company trip to Shanghai Disneyland - the happiest place on earth, or so says Walt!
Have there been any experiences in your career that you’d like to share regarding work-life balance in the comms industry?
Prior to GO, not that I can particularly recall. Being a home-grown independent agency allows us to be entrepreneurial and flexible in the decisions that we make. As we move into a new era of workforce it is incumbent upon agencies or companies to embrace change in whichever way they deem fit for themselves.