Promotion on a four-day week

Mark Bloch from Pearson has increased his responsibilities while reducing his hours.


Marc Bloch has not only gone down to a four-day week while in a senior role, but within six months of doing so he took on extra responsibilities.

Marc, who is Head of Digital and Science Learning Services at learning company Pearson, says the experience of reducing his hours has forced him to be more creative about how he does his job and to focus on where he can be most effective.

He is responsible for Pearson’s digital services in UK primary and secondary schools and the strategy behind that as well as science material from e-textbooks to teacher resources.

Marc reduced his days from five to four after his wife went back to work following the birth of their son, who is now aged seven. The couple didn’t want their son to spend the whole week in nursery or after school care and Marc was keen to spend more time with him.

Developing as a manager

Since the change in his work pattern Marc says he has become better at delegating and working with others. “That has allowed me to take on the extra responsibility of the science learning role”, he says.

“I had learned so much from reducing to four days in terms of how I work that I could apply. It has helped me develop as a manager. It has taught me to appreciate how brilliant my line reports are and to do more to enable them to develop.”

Marc started his career in teaching and was head of science at a secondary school in the North East. Marc was very passionate about his job and would write to Pearson detailing how he thought they could improve the resources they offered teachers. Eventually, he says, they offered him a job working in science resources. That was 15 years ago.

From that role Marc started to create digital services including ActiveTeach, an electronic learning resource that combines innovative teaching materials with the flexibility for teachers to introduce their own resources. That really took off and led to his role as Head of Digital Services. Around five years ago he added the Science Learning Services role.

Marc says that Pearson has a very flexible culture and that his manager has been hugely supportive, helping him to work through the transition to shorter hours. “It took away a lot of worry that there are other managers working flexibly,” he says. “I was also really lucky that other people were moving around their responsibilities at the same time and so I could identify work that I could delegate to others and which would develop their skills. It gave us a chance to look at what opportunities we could give other people on the team. Looking back it was as if all the stars aligned.”

Doing four days means he has been able to spend more time with his son and get more involved with school activities, including the PTA. Marc thinks it is vital to have positive role models of flexible working at all levels of an organisation. “Otherwise people are worried that flexible working will limit their career,” he says. “If people see others across the business working flexibly it gives them confidence that the business supports flexible working and sees it as a positive thing for career development.”

*You can find out more about Pearson and its policies here.

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