Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Challenges [An SEJ Case Research Study, Part 1]

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In September, Online search engine Journal personnel voted to authorize a trial run of a four-day work week program!

We’re running the program in collaboration 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 management requested for a staff member vote on whether to begin the trial. Management likewise chose a committee of staff members to hear concerns and implement a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming up to the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to write about a few of the successes and challenges we’ve come across up until now.

If you’re thinking about executing a four-day work week trial for your company, I hope this details can help you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It has to work for everyone.
  • People should not 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 demanding during the work week– not more stressful.

The Most significant Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

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

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

Teams that handle anybody externally might have a harder change to four-day weeks.

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

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

These groups may have extra issues about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with urgent issues that turn up throughout off days.

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

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

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

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

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

To keep whatever reasonable and prevent some staff members from taking on additional problems, we chose that everybody ought to take the exact same day off, and it should be implemented as closure time– a minimum of throughout of our trial.

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

So, how do you fix the issues external teams will encounter?

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

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

This requires assistance from management and every employee to guarantee that external-facing groups do not take on a heavier problem than others.

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

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Staff Members, And Professionals Differently

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

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

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

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

Since we have numerous different types of employment arrangements, how to best handle the program for each type of employee is an ongoing discussion, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We discovered a range of opinions about the best way to manage the various plans, and the employee committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing details from 4 Day Week International, specifically a few of its case research studies, to direct our discussions.

Do Holidays Develop Three-Day Weeks?

During the 2nd week of our trial, we ended 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 workers who have efficiency KPIs to fulfill.

Part of the problem 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 modify that policy.

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

That method, employees can still take advantage of the occasional extra-short week, however we aren’t creating a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Performance Discomfort Points– This Is Great, In fact

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

And that’s good.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the everyday work and the most vital due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual staff member, team, or company, it’s hard to find time to improve performance and eliminate obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and necessary. It will likewise show you where the most significant pain points are.

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

We found this really useful, and it’s been a huge push that we all required to deal with inefficiencies as a team.

We’re still working on 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 important: Our committee of workers overseeing 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 suggestions by means of an anonymized idea box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

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

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was essential to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not just to hear employee concerns, however likewise to make decisions about the program.

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

As you can see, we had plenty of difficulties! The above isn’t an extensive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we’ve 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 general belief is favorable.

We certainly have some huge questions to answer and some huge workflow concerns to take on.

The four-day work week not only offers us more control over our individual lives however likewise presses us to fix existing issues that we might not have otherwise prioritized.

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

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel