Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Challenges [An SEJ Case Study, Part 1]

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In September, Online search engine Journal personnel voted to authorize a trial run of a four-day work week program!

We’re running the program in collaboration with 4 Day Week Worldwide as a six-month pilot.

Among the crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership asked for an employee vote on whether to start the trial. Management likewise chose a committee of employees to hear concerns and execute a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming up to the middle of our trial, and I wished to discuss some of the successes and challenges we have actually experienced so far.

If you’re thinking about carrying out a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this details can assist you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

The four-day work week experiment has a couple of key tenets:

  • It needs to work for everybody.
  • Individuals should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other methods. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • The end result need to make life much better and less difficult during the work week– not more demanding.

The Most significant Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

If you read this short article, I’m going to assume you’re already on board with the potential benefits of four-day work weeks.

We’ve experienced many advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future short article.

Let’s get right into the difficulties we found with the pilot program and the solutions we’ve carried out up until now.

A Four-Day Work Week Has Various Ramifications For Various Teams

Groups that handle anybody externally might have a harder modification to four-day weeks.

External facing teams, like sales, account management, and media, lose a day during which their contacts might send crucial or time-sensitive messages.

If your business’s schedule isn’t successfully communicated, this may trigger disappointment and missed due dates.

These teams might have extra concerns about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with immediate problems that turn up during off days.

We decided to withstand the temptation to try and find workarounds that ensure we keep protection for the full week.

This may not work for your business. As 4 Day Week Worldwide states, there isn’t one option that works for every business.

We discussed at length the possibility of having various teams or different staff members working various schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a tough adjustment, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you won’t get complete application throughout the whole company.

Numerous companies have employees who feel that it’s necessary to put in additional hours.

To keep everything reasonable and prevent some workers from taking on additional concerns, we chose that everybody should take the exact same day off, and it needs to be imposed as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

There have been some situations where individuals put in additional time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though only twice), however in general, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the exact same day. It’s simpler to keep the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you solve the issues external groups will encounter?

Clear interaction is our response. Be public about your new schedule, and connect to any external stakeholders to notify them.

You’ll require to send out continuous suggestions. It’s great to put the information on your website, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This requires assistance from leadership and every staff member to guarantee that external-facing teams don’t take on a heavier concern than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various groups have different communication obligations.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Per Hour Staff Members, And Professionals In a different way

For salaried staff members, the four-day work week calculation is quite easy: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% efficiency.

SEJ utilizes individuals all over the world and has a variety of different contracts and arrangements. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time specialists, and even some per hour arrangements.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equivalent benefit for all parties is an obstacle we continue to address.

Our top priority is an employee-lead method to these concerns.

Since we have many different types of work arrangements, how to finest manage the program for each type of staff member is a continuous conversation, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions throughout the trial.

We found a range of viewpoints about the best method to manage the various arrangements, and the employee committee has provided some possibilities to leadership.

We utilized existing information from 4 Day Week International, specifically some of its case studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

During the 2nd week of our trial, we ended up with a three-day week.

This triggered quite a bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of decreased hours puts a great deal of pressure on workers who have efficiency KPIs to fulfill.

Part of the concern is that we had a policy that moved the observance of vacations that fall on weekends into weekdays. We were observing Saturday holidays on Fridays, and Sunday holidays on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we chose that we need to customize that policy.

Holidays that fall on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be observed during the work week. Vacations that fall throughout the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still lead to day of rests.

That way, workers can still benefit from the occasional extra-short week, but we aren’t producing a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Productivity Pain Points– This Is Excellent, Actually

If you have problems with your workflow or efficiency, try out four-day weeks will make them urgent.

Which’s good.

It’s simple to get so overtaken the everyday work and the most vital deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private staff member, team, or business, it’s difficult to discover time to enhance performance and eliminate obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and required. It will likewise reveal you where the most significant pain points are.

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a specific process taking up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, conferences), it will all of a sudden get much more bothersome for everybody involved.

We discovered this extremely useful, and it’s been a big push that all of us required to take on inefficiencies as a team.

We’re still dealing with it. The issue with less time is that, well, you have less time.

But here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is crucial: Our committee of staff members managing the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set goals. All employees have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas by means of an anonymized recommendation box.

For this program to work, you require the truth:

  • Who feels like they have to work extra time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anyone feel that execution has been unfair?

These aren’t truths everybody will feel comfy putting their name to, or taking straight to leadership.

That’s why SEJ thought it was necessary to have a committee of staff members from multiple levels that was empowered not just to hear staff member concerns, but also to make decisions about the program.

How Is SEJ’s Four-Day Work Week Working?

As you can see, we had a lot of difficulties! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the way.

We have to do with midway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to work out, the general belief is favorable.

We certainly have some huge questions to address and some big workflow issues to take on.

The four-day work week not just offers us more control over our individual lives however also presses us to resolve existing problems that we may not have actually otherwise focused on.

We’re collecting feedback from all employee about the program as we go. I’ll compose an update soon to talk about a few of the outcomes.

More resources:

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel