Brad Walker banner image
Organisational design | Dec 20

Adaptive Accountancy’s progressive approach to working hours and culture 

Organisational design | Dec 20

What if someone told you that the modes of working we currently have are outdated and actually deter talent?

Reading Time 6 minutes

The four-day week has begun to gain traction in recent years with small and large businesses alike both claiming it increases productivity and makes for a happier workforce. But Adaptive Accountancy founder and Director, Brad Walker, has opted for an even more progressive approach which he says has dramatically benefitted his business and employees.

Working Habits 

Adaptive Accountancy has experienced two years of back-to-back, 40% revenue growth. But Brad says it has come with problems.

‘It’s been fantastic, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team. But growing at this pace has meant that we have had recruitment issues. We need to be able to service all the new work and maintain our high levels of customer service.’

Brad Walker
Director, Adaptive Accountancy

Adaptive Accountancy struggled to compete with bigger firms on salaries meaning that quality employees were hard to come by. This drove Brad to look at how he can differentiate himself from competitors and seize the edge in recruiting.

Brad knew he couldn’t compete on salaries but as the leader of an SME he could be more dynamic and offer better working practices. This led him to reading a book called Work Sucks and How to Fix it written by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler. The premise of the book is that work is something you do, not somewhere you go.

‘The 9-5 working environment was developed by Henry Ford, for building cars on a factory line. Fast forward 100 years and life is different, but our working life is largely similar, which makes no sense. Here at Adaptive Accountancy, instead of paying everyone for time, we’ve made the decision to pay for outcomes. It’s a huge mindset shift.

‘Society’s current system rewards presenteeism: turn up to work, do just enough not to get fired, and you get paid. There’s no incentive to improve or overachieve. Your reward for working hard is more work. But a workplace where you’re able to work where you want, how you want, and when you want gives you complete freedom with your time. Life’s different now and it’s much faster paced.’

Brad says that most people want to have lives outside of work and this way of working gives it back. At Adaptive Accountancy there are no core hours, nothing is set. Employees can work at any time of the day they wish, for as many hours as they wish, as long as they meet the agree goals and targets.

‘Just because you’re not in an office 9—5 doesn’t mean work can’t get done but that seems to be the narrative, and it’s a control mechanism, it’s open micro-management. Why not give people the freedom and judge them on their results, the only thing that actually matters? That’s what we implemented back in July, and it’s helped us attract a higher standard of candidate too.’

Get everyone onboard 

For this to be successful, Brad stresses the importance that the team are onboard. He says that if they are not, you may get a lot of push back in the initial stages which will impact your business operations. 

‘At Adaptive Accountancy, we have a book club of sorts where I task the team with reading sections of books to discuss in our weekly meeting. Naturally, Work Sucks and How to Fix it became part of the book club and, by the end, everyone was on board. Though there were many questions along the way.’

Plan the implementation 

Brad warns that if you opt for this approach, you must do so with caution when implementing as it your ‘A players’ will excel and your poor performers may struggle, which will inevitably lead to an adjustment phase due to a reduced output or even new hires needing to be made. 

‘It’s time to get the right people on the bus as Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, put it. Try looking at implementing this approach just before any seasonal downturns so that you’re not under pressure from a capacity perspective should you need to let someone go.’

Be clear of roles and expectations 

If people can work where, when, and how they want, Brad says their roles, standards, and expectations need to be crystal clear so that nothing is missed and they know what a good job looks like. He argues that if it isn’t clearly articulated, there will inevitably be a difference between your expectation and the result.

Communicate with family 

While it is easy to focus on the immediate impact this change of working habits will have on your business, Brad says that significant change will also come to your personal life.

‘It’s not just a mindset shift for you, it’s your family as well, the whole outer world is still designed mostly around 9-5, so it’s a shift for other halves too. It’s important that you explain to your team the benefits, i.e., they can pick the kids up, attend school plays, reduce nursery days, but that this likely comes at the cost of evenings and weekends to be able to complete the work agreed.’

Brad admits that a mindset shift like this won’t come overnight, from inside or outside the business. He estimates that the transition usually takes around 12 months, a process he is only halfway through himself.


One of the obvious advantages to these fully flexible working hours is doing more of what you want to do, when you want to do it. But Brad says that it can sometimes blur the lines between work and home as ‘you’re never really on but also never really off.’ To combat this, Brad tells his employees to be vigilant of when they need to be completely zoned out of work.


As anyone reading this will know, communicating with your colleagues about a particular project or task is a vital part of getting the job done. But with this progressive method of working, it’s anyone’s guess when their colleague will next be available for a five-minute chat.

‘Communication becomes harder because you’re not sure when someone is available. In practice though, what this means is that everyone’s communication improves. They stop asking short snappy questions and put much more thought into the questions they ask because they don’t know when someone is next available.

Brad implemented this unique approach to working habits back in July 2023. He attributes much of the business’s recent success to how it has impacted his workforce and how much easier it has been to find quality staff. He argues that if done properly, you can eradicate presenteeism, create a space for talent to thrive, attract better quality staff, and achieve a far better work/life balance.

Brad Walker

Brad Walker Director, Adaptive Accountancy

Latest articles

Find Out More

Help to Grow: Management logo
Female business leader smiling
Don’t forget, multiple participants can now join the course

Two leaders or senior managers from a business with 10 to 249 employees can now attend the 12 modules of learning and get the benefits of one-to-one mentorship.