Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Challenges [An SEJ Case Research 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 partnership with 4 Day Week Worldwide as a six-month pilot.

Among the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested a staff member vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise nominated a committee of staff members to hear concerns and execute a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the middle of our trial, and I wished to write about some of the successes and difficulties we’ve come across so far.

If you’re thinking of implementing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this info can help you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • Individuals shouldn’t be attempting to fit more time into their week in other ways. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • The end result must make life much better and less stressful during the work week– not more difficult.

The Greatest Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s get right into the difficulties we discovered with the pilot program and the options we’ve implemented up until now.

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

Teams that handle anybody externally might have a more difficult adjustment to four-day weeks.

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

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

These groups may have extra concerns about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll need to be on-call to deal with immediate issues that turn up throughout off days.

We decided to resist the temptation to attempt and find workarounds that guarantee we keep coverage for the full week.

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

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

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a hard change, and the more complicated you make it internally, the most likely you will not get complete execution across the entire business.

Numerous companies have staff members who feel that it’s required to put in extra hours.

To keep whatever reasonable and prevent some employees from taking on additional problems, we decided that everybody ought to take the same day of rest, and it needs to be implemented as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

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

So, how do you fix the issues external groups will experience?

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

You’ll require to send constant pointers. It’s great to put the info on your website, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

This needs support from leadership and every staff member to guarantee that external-facing groups do not handle a much heavier concern than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various teams have various communication duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Hourly Staff Members, And Professionals In a different way

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

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

How to ensure that the four-day week is an equal benefit for all celebrations is a difficulty we continue to attend to.

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

Since we have a lot of various types of employment plans, how to finest handle the program for each type of worker is a continuous conversation, and agreement employees have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the best method to deal with the different plans, and the staff member committee has actually presented some possibilities to leadership.

We utilized existing details from 4 Day Week Worldwide, especially some of its case research studies, to direct our conversations.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused a fair bit of frustration and issue. That extension of decreased hours puts a lot 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 decided that we should 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 way, workers can still take advantage of the periodic extra-short week, but we aren’t creating a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Performance Pain Points– This Is Excellent, Really

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

And that’s great.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the daily work and the most crucial due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private worker, team, or business, it’s difficult to discover time to enhance efficiency and get rid of obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and necessary. It will likewise show you where the biggest discomfort points are.

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a specific procedure using up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, meetings), it will suddenly get far more bothersome for everybody involved.

We discovered this very helpful, and it’s been a big push that all of us required to deal with inefficiencies as a group.

We’re still working on 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 workers supervising the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All employees have actually been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, 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 anybody feel that application has been unjust?

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was very important to have a committee of workers from several levels that was empowered not just to hear staff member concerns, however likewise to make decisions about the program.

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

As you can see, we had lots of difficulties! The above isn’t an extensive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we’ve had along the way.

We’re about halfway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to work out, the overall sentiment is favorable.

We absolutely have some big concerns to respond to and some big workflow concerns to take on.

The four-day work week not just provides us more control over our individual lives however also pushes 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 talk about a few of the results.

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel