Marc Nohr's inclusion in Timewise list shows evolution in flexible working

Power 50 includes 13 in marketing or media.

Power 50: Nohr (centre) and other winners
Power 50: Nohr (centre) and other winners

Marc Nohr, chairman of Fold7 and group chief executive of Miroma Agencies, is the first male chief executive of a large business in the UK to announce that he works a four-day week – marking a progression in the national conversation about flexible working. 

Nohr has been recognised on Timewise’s 2020 Power 50 Awards, an annual list that honours men and women who have achieved career success while working part-time or flexibly. This year’s list includes 13 names from marketing or media, making the creative industries the top sector in the 2020 list. 

The inclusion of Nohr among the Power 50 is significant because it breaks the common misperceptions that part-time working is only appropriate for mothers and carers, or can hinder career progression. 

"The appetite for working differently has never been so strong. Men and women want it pretty much the same amount," Karen Mattison, co-founder of Timewise, said. "The fact that a male CEO is on the list shows the evolution of that conversation."

Timewise’s research shows that one million bosses in the UK now work part-time, accounting for one in six of all jobs at manager or senior level. 

Yet both individual and workplace barriers stand in place of more people embracing flexible working, Mattison said: "There’s a fear among people with working less that while they’d be happy to take the salary cut, they’ll be seen as less ambitious or passed over for promotion because they’re part-time. The language of part-time usually comes with an apology before it. We’ve slept-walked our way into that.

"We’ve heard an assumption that part-time or flexible working is good for the employee and rubbish for the business. But, in recent years, the business case for flexible working has been well-articulated in terms of the retention of people, recruitment and productivity. Businesses understand they need to offer it and employees want it."

Nohr oversees a £153m collective of global marketing services agencies, with offices in 11 countries and more than 350 employees worldwide, but he has worked a four-day week for the past two years. He said that his schedule helps him work more creatively. 

"As a leader, your power to make things happen relies a lot on your state. That is determined by a range of factors, such as your mental health, physical health and how stimulated you are. We all have different energy levels and things that make us happy," Nohr said. "Some of the best creative directors I’ve worked with talk about the importance of getting out into the world, of walking, of letting the unconscious mind roam."

Outside work, Nohr is director of martial-arts body London Krav Maga, chair of Jewish cultural centre JW3 and chair of the commercial leadership group at the IPA. 

"Creativity doesn’t happen between nine and five," he added. "As a nation, we need to start being more thoughtful about the modern working environment."

While the creative industries are best represented on the Power 50 list, Mattison said they still have a way to go in making workplaces more flexible. Timewise’s Flexible Jobs Index last year found that the advertising, marketing and PR industries fall behind the national standard in offering flexible working to employees: 15% of overall vacancies had flexible working options, compared with just 12% in advertising, marketing and PR.

The sector needs to get more creative in how it designs and advertises jobs, while also changing how it measures performance: "Businesses need to measure performance not by how many hours you’re sitting at your desk but by what you produce," Mattison said.

The 13 Power 50 winners from marketing and media

Maria Betes
Marketing manager, eBay UK
Pattern worked: four days per week

Stephanie Drakes
Founder, Social & Local
Pattern worked: three days per week

Juliette Flanagan
Head of category strategy, vodka, gin and rum, Diageo
Pattern worked: 80% contract

Naomi Greenaway and Kate Bussmann
Deputy editors, Stella, Telegraph Media Group
Pattern worked: two/three days per week (job share)  

Pete Jackson
Strategy director, Exposure
Pattern worked: four days per week

Nadine Kayser
Global head of marketing and communications, Steer
Pattern worked: 25 hours per week 

Nicola Kemp
Managing editor, Bite, Creativebrief
Pattern worked: four days per week

Marc Nohr
Chairman, Fold7; group chief executive, Miroma Agencies
Pattern worked: four days per week

Harriet Oliver and Julie Taylor
Editors, children’s news, BBC World Service
Pattern worked: 3.5/two days per week (job share) 

Elit Rowland
Head of communications, JJ Foodservice
Pattern worked: three days per week

Celia Venables
Head of PR, Hoop
Pattern worked: three days per week

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