ONE of the North-East’s best-known motor dealers has taken the bold and rare step of closing on Sundays to create a better work-life balance for sales staff.

Sherwoods Motor Group, which employs around 150 people in the region, has made the move as part of a strategy to retain and attract the best sales staff.

Sales managers and executives traditionally work one in two Sundays, but the company wants to be able to guarantee that they can have every Sunday off.

Sales Director Andy Drinkel, who has 35 years’ experience in the sector, said: “The motor industry traditionally has a high staff turnover, so we want to signal a complete culture change by ensuring employees have more family time at weekends.

“It’s an unusual step for a motor dealer in the North-East, but Sherwoods is a long-standing family business that understands the importance of family time, and we want to be known for giving staff an attractive work-life balance, as well as paying them well.

“By giving sales staff that flexibility, it means they can plan to be with their families, attend events, or just enjoy a night out on Saturdays without worrying about work the next day. We’re confident it will result in them being more energised and productive on the days they are at work.”

Sherwoods has four sites: Gateshead, selling Citroën, Peugeot, and Suzuki models; Sunderland, (Citroën and Suzuki); Durham (Peugeot); and a body shop at Washington for light commercial vehicles (LCVs), specialising in Isuzu and Maxus vans.

Signs at each location will make it clear that visitors are welcome to browse around the sites on Sundays, and all vehicles will have a QR code taking customers to the company’s website.

A member of staff will be on duty remotely – no more than one Sunday in six – to help with any customer enquiries.

Sherwoods Group Managing Director, Simon MacConachie, added: “This is a bold step, but we passionately believe it is the right one to take for both the future of the business and our employees.”