Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Obstacles [An SEJ Case 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 Worldwide as a six-month pilot.

Among the key tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested an employee vote on whether to begin the trial. Management also chose a committee of employees to hear concerns and carry out a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming up to the middle of our trial, and I wished to write about a few of the successes and challenges we’ve experienced up until now.

If you’re thinking about executing a four-day work week trial for your company, I hope this information 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 should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • Completion outcome need to make life better and less demanding during the work week– not more difficult.

The Biggest Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

If you’re reading this short article, I’m going to presume you’re currently on board with the prospective advantages of four-day work weeks.

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

Let’s get right into the difficulties we found with the pilot program and the options we have actually executed up until now.

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

Teams that deal with anyone externally may have a more difficult modification to four-day weeks.

External dealing with groups, like sales, account management, and media, lose a day during which their contacts may send out important or time-sensitive messages.

If your company’s schedule isn’t effectively interacted, this may trigger disappointment and missed due dates.

These groups may have additional concerns about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with urgent concerns that come up during off days.

We chose to withstand the temptation to attempt and discover workarounds that guarantee we keep coverage for the complete week.

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

We went over at length the possibility of having various groups or various workers working various schedules.

However, four-day weeks are a challenging modification, and the more complicated you make it internally, the most likely you will not get complete execution throughout the entire business.

Lots of companies have workers who feel that it’s necessary to put in extra hours.

To keep whatever reasonable and avoid some staff members from taking on additional concerns, we decided that everybody ought to take the very same day of rest, and it should be enforced as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have actually been some situations where individuals put in extra time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though only two times), but in basic, we discover that the temptation is less popular if everyone observes the very same day. It’s simpler to maintain the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

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

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

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

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

We’re still implementing this. Various groups have various interaction duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Workers, And Specialists Differently

For employed employees, the four-day work week estimation is pretty easy: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% performance.

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

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

Our priority is an employee-lead method to these questions.

Because we have a lot of various kinds of work arrangements, how to finest manage the program for each type of employee is an ongoing discussion, and contract employees have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

We found a variety of opinions about the very best method to handle the various arrangements, and the worker committee has actually presented some possibilities to leadership.

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

Do Holidays Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered quite a bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of reduced hours puts a lot of pressure on employees 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 holidays on Fridays, and Sunday vacations on Mondays.

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

Vacations that fall on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be observed during the work week. Vacations that fall during the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still result in days off.

That way, employees can still gain from the periodic extra-short week, however we aren’t developing too many high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Discomfort Points– This Is Excellent, Actually

If you have issues with your workflow or efficiency, experimenting with four-day weeks will make them immediate.

Which’s great.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most important deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, team, or company, it’s tough to find time to improve efficiency and eliminate roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and required. It will also show you where the biggest pain points are.

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

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

We’re still dealing with 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 crucial: Our committee of staff members overseeing the program has been empowered to make choices and set goals. All staff members have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas by means of an anonymized idea box.

For this program to work, you require the fact:

  • Who seems like they need to work additional time?
  • Who is more stressed out about the program, and why?
  • Does anybody feel that application has been unfair?

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was important to have a committee of workers from numerous levels that was empowered not only to hear employee concerns, however 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 obstacles! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the way.

We’re about halfway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to work out, the total sentiment is positive.

We definitely have some big concerns to respond to and some huge workflow concerns to deal with.

The four-day work week not just provides us more control over our personal lives however likewise pushes us to solve existing problems that we might not have actually otherwise focused on.

We’re collecting feedback from all staff member about the program as we go. I’ll compose an update quickly to talk about a few of the results.

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel