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

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In September, Online search engine Journal staff 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.

Among the key tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management asked for an employee vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of employees to hear concerns and carry out a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wished to discuss a few of the successes and difficulties we’ve experienced so far.

If you’re thinking of executing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this details 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.
  • People should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • Completion outcome ought to make life better and less stressful throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Greatest Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s get right into the obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the options we have actually executed so far.

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

Groups that handle anybody externally might have a harder adjustment to four-day weeks.

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

If your business’s schedule isn’t effectively communicated, this may trigger frustration and missed due dates.

These groups may have additional concerns about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll need to be on-call to deal with immediate problems that show up throughout off days.

We chose to resist the temptation to attempt and find workarounds that ensure we keep protection for the full week.

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

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

However, four-day weeks are a difficult adjustment, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you will not get complete implementation across the whole company.

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

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

There have actually been some scenarios where people put in additional time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though only twice), however in general, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everybody observes the same day. It’s much easier to preserve the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

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

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

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

This needs assistance from leadership and every employee to guarantee that external-facing groups do not take on a heavier concern than others.

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

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Workers, And Professionals In a different way

For employed employees, the four-day work week calculation is quite easy: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% performance.

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

How to ensure that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all parties is a challenge we continue to resolve.

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

Due to the fact that we have so many various kinds of employment plans, how to best handle the program for each kind of employee is a continuous conversation, and contract workers have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

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

We utilized existing information from 4 Day Week Worldwide, specifically some of its case research studies, to assist our discussions.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

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

Part of the problem is that we had a policy that moved the observance of holidays 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 ought to modify that policy.

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

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

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Discomfort Points– This Is Good, In fact

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

And that’s great.

It’s easy to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most crucial deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, team, or company, it’s hard to discover time to improve performance and remove obstructions.

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

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a particular procedure taking up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, conferences), it will unexpectedly get much more bothersome for everyone included.

We discovered this very helpful, and it’s been a big push that we all needed to tackle ineffectiveness as a group.

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 critical: Our committee of staff members managing the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All workers have actually been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and suggestions through an anonymized suggestion box.

For this program to work, you require the truth:

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

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was very important to have a committee of workers from several levels that was empowered not only to hear worker issues, but likewise to make choices about the program.

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

As you can see, we had plenty of obstacles! 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 many kinks to work out, the total belief is positive.

We certainly have some huge questions to address and some big workflow concerns to tackle.

The four-day work week not only offers us more control over our personal lives however also pushes us to fix existing problems that we might not have otherwise focused on.

We’re gathering feedback from all staff member about the program as we go. I’ll write an upgrade soon to go over a few of the outcomes.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel