EXCLUSIVE Is this Britain’s best boss? Marketing chief, 31, gives his staff a day off on Monday so they can go to the pub and shopping when lockdown is eased

  • Chris Donnelly, 31, has told all staff not to come in to work on Monday
  • Instead boss of Verb Brands wants them to either visit family, shops or pub
  • His Monday rule is so firm that people turning up at work will be sent home 
  • April 12 lockdown release lets non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants open

A businessman has been declared Britain’s best boss by staff – after he gave all his workers Monday off on full pay to either go to the pub or see loved ones.

Chief executive of digital marketing firm Verb Brands Chris Donnelly, 31, told his 65 staff not to come in on April 12 as bars and shops reopen.

Instead the company head – who also founded the business – said he wanted people to go out and enjoy themselves and give the economy a boost.

He is so determined that they take advantage of the day that anyone arriving at Verb Brands in Shoreditch, London, on Monday will be told to either go home, go shopping or go to the pub.

Mr Donnelly – whose clients include Creed Fragrances, Bugatti, Mr Porter, Calzedonia and Jimmy Choo – said: ‘It has been a horrid time for so many people across so many sectors.

‘The pubs and shops are opening up after months and I just want employees to know how much they are appreciated and to enjoy this day for themselves, not spend it sat in the office.

Verb Brands’ boss Chris Donnelly has given staff the paid time off and has introduced other initiatives to help his employees, including giving men as well as women three paid days off work to support their partners if they suffer a miscarriage and time off for IVF treatment

Beer gardens are set to open on April 12 in England, in a huge boost for the economy

Verb Brands’  offices are in Shoreditch, London, and will turn away staff if they come in Monday

‘Landlords and high street retailers need a boost too so I’m happy for my lot to spend the day supporting these businesses.

‘And if they want to spend the day in bed – then good for them.’

The generous time off comes after a string of initiatives at the workplace.

Entrepreneur Mr Donnelly also has a police where men as well as women can take three paid days off work to support their partners if they suffer a miscarriage.

It follows a change in law in New Zealand, making the leave mandatory last month.

He also offers women undergoing IVF time off as they receive treatment and recognising adoption with leave as well. 

A masked pedestrian walks past the closed Arnos Arms pub in Arnos Grove, North London

The Flask pub in Highgate, North London, pictured last week , which is among those reopening

The Marquess of Anglesey pub in Covent Garden is seen on March 25, ahead of Monday

 

Drinkers across England are gearing up for the return of the great British pub next Monday – with some places so desperate to serve locals that they are opening up at one minute past midnight. 

The Kentish Belle, a micropub in Bexley, South East London, has been taking bookings for tables between 0.01am and 3am next Monday after obtaining a licence to operate as a one-off in the early hours of the morning.  

Other pubs have also been busy getting tents and marquees ready for April 12, while the chain Marston’s today reaffirmed plans to open around 700 beer gardens and other outdoor spaces next week as restrictions ease.

From next week, amended Government rules will allow pubs and restaurants to reopen to serve customers in beer gardens or other outdoor serving areas – following months of complete shutdown for the sector.

Marston’s said it is opening about 70 per cent of its 1,000 managed and franchised pubs in England ‘on or around’ April 12 – and Scottish and Welsh pubs will open on April 26, subject to final confirmation from the authorities. 

It comes just days after it was reported the majority of pubs may not reopen on April 12 because they do not have enough outside space to make it financially viable. 

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said while 75 per cent of UK pubs have a beer garden or outside space, only 40 per cent of venues enjoy one that is large enough.

Therefore, it estimates that only 17 per cent of pubs will welcome back customers and that limited capacity and unpredictable weather could leave many businesses struggling to break even.

Mr Donnelly – who featured in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 – added of his initiatives at work: ‘Things like supporting staff who suffer the deeply distressing turmoil of miscarriage, as well as those trying for kids when it hasn’t been as straight forward as it might, is personally something I have the power to do and therefore why wouldn’t I do it. Why wouldn’t anyone in the position to do it, do it?

‘It’s great to be successful but I think when that occurs you have a duty to help others where you can. It’s an ethos I aim to apply whenever possible.’

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