Brokers: You go four days if you want to

Michael Lloyd

September 13, 2019

Mortgage brokers have given the controversial suggestion of a four-day working week from the Labour Party a big thumbs down. 

Shadow Chancellor John McDonell has said he will be looking at a reduction of working hours as a way of allowing workers a “better quality of life”.

Speaking at the launch of an independent report he commissioned on how to achieve shorter working hours McDonell lauded the plan branding it “terrific”.

However, brokers including Ray Boulger of John Charcol, have branded the scheme an irrelevance adding that it would have zero impact on how the intermediary market conducts business.

Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, said: “If Labour introduced a four-day working week, it wouldn’t make a difference because people like brokers are available six, seven days a week.

“You’d want to look after clients and respond to them. It’s all part of good customer service. Many people in the service industry make themselves available in times that suit clients.

“And brokers don’t have to be in an office to do so, they can be at home on the phone. Whilst it would mean 34 hours or so for workers in factories, for people like brokers that can do their job anywhere I think it would be completely irrelevant.

David Hollingworth, associate director, L&C Mortgages, said that flexibility for clients is needed but he was unsure of whether that would fit into a four-day week.

He added: “I think customers would expect availability to be when they want it which may or may not sit within traditional working hours. It shows how people are looking at flexibility in the working week.”

And Adrian Knott, owner of AK Partnership, slammed the idea branding it dreadful.

He said: “Any Labour government policy for the hard-working business owners of this country will be just dreadful. I work 24/7 on email mostly so how can a shorter working week help my business?”

Martin Stewart, director at The Money Group, concluded by adding that regardless of the length of the working week it’s all down to organisation and time management.

He said: “I wrote recently that ‘work expands to fit the time allocated to it’ so I’d suggest actually that it’s probably harder to do a four-day week than it is a three-day one.

“There is a myth that some brokers are very busy and whilst that may be the case, I’d suggest that some are busy only because many are disorganised individuals with no one to delegate to and become busy fools as a result. We really need to remove the cottage industry mentality within broking.

“Technology and flexible working hours also mean that work is done at different times of day during different days of the week. Some brokers struggle to differentiate between family time and work time while others more forward thinking see that they are not mutually exclusive.

“In essence either you manage the clock, or the clock manages you.”

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