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 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 a worker vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of workers to hear issues and carry out a policy concerning the trial.

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

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

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • People should not be trying to fit more time into their week in other ways. It ought to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • The end outcome should make life much better and less difficult during the work week– not more difficult.

The Greatest Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s solve into the challenges we discovered with the pilot program and the services we’ve implemented up until now.

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

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

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

If your business’s schedule isn’t successfully interacted, this might cause frustration and missed out on due dates.

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

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

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

We discussed at length the possibility of having various teams or different employees working various schedules.

However, four-day weeks are a difficult adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the more likely you won’t get full application throughout the entire business.

Numerous companies have workers who feel that it’s required to put in additional hours.

To keep everything fair and avoid some workers from taking on additional burdens, we chose that everyone should take the very same day of rest, and it ought to be imposed 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), but in general, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the very same day. It’s easier to preserve the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you resolve the issues external groups will encounter?

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

You’ll require to send out consistent pointers. It’s good to put the information on your site, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This requires assistance from leadership and every worker to ensure that external-facing groups do not handle a heavier burden than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various groups have different communication responsibilities.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Per Hour Staff Members, And Specialists Differently

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

SEJ employs individuals all over the world and has a range of different contracts and plans. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time professionals, and even some hourly plans.

How to guarantee that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all parties is a difficulty we continue to attend to.

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

Since we have numerous different types of work plans, how to finest manage the program for each type of staff member is an ongoing discussion, and contract employees have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We found a variety of opinions about the best way to manage the different plans, and the employee committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing info from 4 Day Week International, especially a few of its case studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Holidays Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

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

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 holidays on Fridays, and Sunday holidays on Mondays.

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

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

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

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Pain Points– This Is Great, Actually

If you have issues with your workflow or performance, try out four-day weeks will make them urgent.

Which’s great.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most critical deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private employee, team, or business, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance effectiveness and get rid of roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and needed. It will likewise reveal you where the most significant discomfort points are.

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a specific procedure taking up a great deal of time (like, I do not know, meetings), it will all of a sudden get a lot more troublesome for everyone involved.

We discovered this very useful, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to deal with inefficiencies as a team.

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 important: Our committee of employees managing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set objectives. All employees have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas by means of an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you require the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was essential to have a committee of employees from several levels that was empowered not just to hear worker concerns, 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 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 halfway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to work out, the total belief is positive.

We certainly have some big questions to answer and some huge workflow issues to tackle.

The four-day work week not only gives us more control over our personal lives but likewise presses us to fix existing problems that we might not have otherwise focused on.

We’re gathering feedback from all employee about the program as we go. I’ll write an upgrade quickly to discuss some of the outcomes.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel