Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Difficulties [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 International 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 start the trial. Leadership likewise nominated a committee of staff members to hear issues and execute a policy relating to the trial.

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

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

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It has to work for everyone.
  • 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% efficiency.
  • Completion result should make life much better and less demanding during the work week– not more stressful.

The Greatest Obstacles 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 possible advantages of four-day work weeks.

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

Let’s solve into the challenges we discovered with the pilot program and the options we have actually carried out up until now.

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

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

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

If your company’s schedule isn’t successfully interacted, this might trigger disappointment and missed deadlines.

These groups may have additional concerns about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll need to be on-call to handle urgent problems that come up throughout off days.

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

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having different groups or different staff members working different schedules.

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

Numerous business have employees who feel that it’s needed to put in additional hours.

To keep whatever fair and avoid some staff members from taking on extra problems, we chose that everybody needs to take the very same day of rest, and it ought to be implemented as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

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

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

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

You’ll need to send out consistent pointers. It’s great to put the details on your website, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This needs assistance from management and every employee to ensure that external-facing teams don’t handle a much heavier problem than others.

We’re still executing this. Different teams have different communication duties.

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

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

SEJ employs people all over the world and has a variety of different agreements and plans. We have some full-time professionals, some part-time contractors, and even some per hour plans.

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

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

Due to the fact that we have a lot of different types of employment arrangements, how to best handle the program for each kind of employee is a continuous conversation, and agreement workers have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the best way to handle the different arrangements, and the staff member committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

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

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused quite a bit of frustration and issue. That extension of decreased hours puts a great deal of pressure on staff members who have performance KPIs to satisfy.

Part of the issue 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 need to modify that policy.

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

That way, workers can still benefit from the occasional 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 Productivity Pain Points– This Is Excellent, Actually

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

Which’s great.

It’s easy to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most critical due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private staff member, team, or company, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance efficiency and remove roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and necessary. It will also reveal you where the greatest pain points are.

This can be a little a shock. If you have a particular procedure taking up a lot of time (like, I do not know, conferences), it will suddenly get far more problematic for everybody included.

We found this extremely helpful, and it’s been a big push that we all needed to take on ineffectiveness 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 crucial: Our committee of workers managing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All employees have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and suggestions through an anonymized suggestion 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 implementation has been unreasonable?

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was essential to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not only 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 challenges! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the way.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have numerous kinks to exercise, the overall sentiment is favorable.

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

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

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

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel