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 collaboration with 4 Day Week International as a six-month pilot.

One of the key tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management requested a staff member vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise nominated a committee of workers to hear concerns and implement a policy relating to the trial.

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

If you’re thinking about implementing 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 few key tenets:

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • Individuals should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other ways. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% performance.
  • The end outcome need to make life much better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more difficult.

The Greatest Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

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

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

Groups that handle anybody externally might have a more difficult modification to four-day weeks.

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

If your company’s schedule isn’t successfully communicated, this may cause aggravation and missed out on deadlines.

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

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

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having various groups or various employees working different schedules.

However, four-day weeks are a challenging adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the more likely you will not get full implementation throughout the entire business.

Numerous companies have workers who feel that it’s essential to put in extra hours.

To keep whatever reasonable and avoid some employees from handling additional problems, we decided that everybody must take the very same day of rest, and it must be imposed as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

There have been some circumstances where people put in additional time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though just twice), however in basic, we find that the temptation is less popular if everybody 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 problems external groups will encounter?

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

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

This requires support from management and every employee to ensure that external-facing teams don’t take on a much heavier problem than others.

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

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

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

SEJ employs people all over the world and has a range of different agreements and arrangements. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time specialists, and even some hourly arrangements.

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

Our concern is an employee-lead method to these concerns.

Since we have numerous different types of employment plans, how to best manage the program for each kind of worker is a continuous conversation, and agreement staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

We discovered a range of viewpoints about the very best way to deal with the various plans, and the employee committee has presented some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing details from 4 Day Week Global, particularly a few of its case research studies, to assist our conversations.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered a fair bit of frustration and concern. That extension of lowered hours puts a great deal of pressure on employees 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 holidays on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we chose that we should modify that policy.

Vacations that fall on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be observed throughout 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 occasional extra-short week, however we aren’t creating too many high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

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

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

Which’s good.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most crucial due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private employee, team, or company, it’s hard to discover time to improve effectiveness and get rid of roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and essential. It will also show you where the biggest discomfort points are.

This can be a little a shock. If you have a specific procedure using up a great deal of time (like, I do not know, meetings), it will suddenly get a lot more bothersome for everybody included.

We found this really useful, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to tackle ineffectiveness as a group.

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

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

For this program to work, you need the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was important to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not only to hear staff member issues, however also 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 have to do with midway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to work out, the overall sentiment is positive.

We definitely have some big questions to respond to and some big workflow concerns to tackle.

The four-day work week not just offers us more control over our personal lives however likewise pushes us to resolve existing issues that we may not have actually otherwise focused on.

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

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel