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

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In September, Online search engine Journal staff 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.

One of the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management requested for a worker vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership also nominated a committee of employees to hear concerns and implement a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wished to write about a few of the successes and obstacles we have actually come across up until now.

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

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • People shouldn’t be trying to fit more time into their week in other methods. It needs to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • The end outcome ought to make life better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more difficult.

The Biggest Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

If you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume you’re already on board with the prospective advantages of four-day work weeks.

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

Let’s get right into the challenges we discovered with the pilot program and the services we have actually implemented up until now.

A Four-Day Work Week Has Different Implications For Different Groups

Groups that handle anyone externally might have a harder adjustment to four-day weeks.

External facing groups, 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 effectively communicated, this may cause frustration and missed deadlines.

These teams may have extra issues about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to handle urgent issues that come up during off days.

We chose to resist the temptation to attempt and discover workarounds that ensure we keep protection for the complete week.

This might not work for your business. As 4 Day Week International states, there isn’t one service that works for every business.

We talked about at length the possibility of having various teams or various workers working different schedules.

However, four-day weeks are a tough modification, and the more complex you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get complete application across the entire business.

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

To keep everything reasonable and avoid some staff members from handling extra concerns, we decided that everyone ought to take the exact same day off, and it needs to be implemented as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have been some circumstances where individuals put in additional time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though just twice), but in basic, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the very same day. It’s easier to keep the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you resolve the issues external teams will come across?

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

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

This needs support from management and every worker to guarantee that external-facing teams do not handle a much heavier burden than others.

We’re still implementing this. Different groups have different interaction duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Per Hour Employees, And Specialists In a different way

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

SEJ uses individuals all over the world and has a variety of various contracts and arrangements. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time professionals, and even some hourly arrangements.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all celebrations is a challenge we continue to resolve.

Our top priority is an employee-lead technique to these questions.

Because we have a lot of various kinds of work arrangements, how to best manage the program for each kind of worker is a continuous discussion, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

We found a range of viewpoints about the very best method to manage the different plans, and the worker committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing info from 4 Day Week Worldwide, particularly a few of its case research studies, to assist our discussions.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered a fair bit of aggravation and concern. That extension of reduced hours puts a lot of pressure on staff members who have performance KPIs to meet.

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 decided that we ought to customize that policy.

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

That way, staff members can still take advantage of the periodic extra-short week, but we aren’t developing a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Productivity Pain Points– This Is Great, In fact

If you have problems with your workflow or performance, experimenting with four-day weeks will make them urgent.

And that’s excellent.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the day-to-day work and the most vital due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private worker, team, or business, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance performance and eliminate obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and needed. It will likewise show you where the greatest pain points are.

This can be a little a shock. If you have a specific process using up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, conferences), it will unexpectedly get much more problematic for everybody included.

We found this really useful, and it’s been a big push that we all required to take on ineffectiveness as a team.

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

However here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is important: Our committee of employees supervising the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All staff members have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and tips through an anonymized idea box.

For this program to work, you need the truth:

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

These aren’t realities everybody will feel comfortable putting their name to, or taking directly to management.

That’s why SEJ thought it was necessary to have a committee of employees from numerous levels that was empowered not just to hear worker issues, but likewise to make decisions about the program.

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

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

We have to do with midway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to exercise, the total sentiment is favorable.

We certainly have some huge concerns to address and some huge workflow problems to tackle.

The four-day work week not only gives us more control over our individual lives however also presses us to solve existing problems that we may not have actually otherwise prioritized.

We’re gathering feedback from all team members about the program as we go. I’ll write an update quickly to talk about a few of the outcomes.

More resources:

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel