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

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

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

One of the crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested a staff member vote on whether to begin the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of employees to hear issues and carry out a policy regarding the trial.

We’re coming near the middle of our trial, and I wanted to write about a few of the successes and challenges we have actually encountered up until now.

If you’re thinking of implementing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this information can help 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.
  • People shouldn’t be attempting to fit more time into their week in other ways. It ought to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% performance.
  • Completion result must make life better and less stressful during the work week– not more difficult.

The Most significant Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

If you read this post, I’m going to presume you’re currently on board with the potential advantages of four-day work weeks.

We have actually experienced many advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future post.

Let’s solve into the challenges we discovered with the pilot program and the services we’ve implemented up until now.

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

Groups that deal with anyone externally may have a harder change to four-day weeks.

External dealing with teams, like sales, account management, and media, lose a day throughout which their contacts might send essential or time-sensitive messages.

If your business’s schedule isn’t efficiently interacted, this may trigger frustration and missed out on deadlines.

These teams might have extra issues about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to handle immediate concerns that come up during off days.

We decided to resist the temptation to try and discover workarounds that ensure we keep coverage for the complete week.

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

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

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a challenging modification, and the more complex you make it internally, the more likely you will not get complete application throughout the entire business.

Numerous business have employees who feel that it’s essential to put in extra hours.

To keep whatever reasonable and prevent some employees from handling extra burdens, we chose that everybody should take the very same day off, and it should be enforced as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

There have been some scenarios where individuals put in extra time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though only two times), however in basic, we discover that the temptation is less popular if everybody observes the very same day. It’s much easier to preserve the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you solve the problems external teams will experience?

Clear communication is our response. Be public about your brand-new schedule, and reach out to any external stakeholders to inform them.

You’ll need to send out constant reminders. It’s good to put the info on your website, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This requires assistance from leadership and every staff member to ensure that external-facing teams do not handle a much heavier burden than others.

We’re still executing this. Various teams have different interaction duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Hourly Employees, And Contractors Differently

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

SEJ utilizes individuals all over the world and has a variety of various contracts and plans. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time professionals, and even some per hour plans.

How to ensure that the four-day week is an equal advantage for all parties is a challenge we continue to deal with.

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

Since we have a lot of different kinds of work arrangements, how to finest handle the program for each kind of staff member is a continuous conversation, and agreement workers have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions throughout the trial.

We found a variety of viewpoints about the very best way to manage the various plans, and the staff member committee has actually presented some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing details from 4 Day Week Worldwide, specifically some of its case research studies, to assist our discussions.

Do Holidays Produce Three-Day Weeks?

During the second week of our trial, we wound up with a three-day week.

This caused a fair bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of lowered hours puts a great deal of pressure on staff members who have performance 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 vacations on Fridays, and Sunday vacations on Mondays.

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

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

That method, workers can still gain from the periodic extra-short week, but we aren’t producing too many high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Productivity Discomfort Points– This Is Excellent, In fact

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

And that’s great.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most critical deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific employee, group, or company, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance performance and remove roadblocks.

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

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a specific process taking up a great deal of time (like, I don’t know, conferences), it will suddenly get much more problematic for everyone involved.

We found this very helpful, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to deal with inadequacies as a group.

We’re still working on it. The problem with less time is that, well, you have less time.

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

For this program to work, you need the fact:

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

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was important to have a committee of staff members from multiple levels that was empowered not only to hear worker concerns, however also to make decisions about the program.

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

As you can see, we had plenty of challenges! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the obstructions and stumbles we have actually had along the method.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to exercise, the general belief is positive.

We definitely have some huge questions to answer and some big workflow concerns to take on.

The four-day work week not just gives us more control over our personal lives but also presses us to fix existing issues that we may not have otherwise prioritized.

We’re collecting feedback from all team members about the program as we go. I’ll write an upgrade soon to go over a few of the outcomes.

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel