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 Global as a six-month pilot.

One of the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested for an employee vote on whether to start the trial. Management likewise nominated a committee of workers to hear issues and implement a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming up to the middle of our trial, and I wanted to discuss a few of the successes and challenges we have actually come across so far.

If you’re thinking of implementing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this information 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 everybody.
  • People shouldn’t be trying to fit more time into their week in other ways. It needs to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • The end result need to make life better and less stressful throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Most significant Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s solve into the difficulties we found with the pilot program and the services we have actually carried out up until now.

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

Teams that deal with anyone externally might have a harder modification to four-day weeks.

External facing teams, like sales, account management, and media, lose a day during which their contacts may send important or time-sensitive messages.

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

These teams might have extra issues about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with immediate concerns that come up during off days.

We chose to withstand the temptation to attempt and find workarounds that guarantee we keep protection for the complete week.

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

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

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a challenging change, and the more complicated you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get full application across the whole company.

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

To keep whatever reasonable and prevent some staff members from handling additional burdens, we decided that everyone should take the exact same day off, and it needs to be implemented as closure time– a minimum of throughout of our trial.

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

So, how do you fix the problems external groups will encounter?

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

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

This requires assistance from leadership and every worker to make sure that external-facing groups do not handle a much heavier problem than others.

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

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Employees, And Specialists Differently

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

SEJ employs individuals all over the world and has a variety of different contracts and arrangements. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time specialists, and even some per hour plans.

How to guarantee that the four-day week is an equal advantage for all celebrations is an obstacle we continue to resolve.

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

Because we have numerous different types of work plans, how to best handle the program for each kind of staff member is an ongoing conversation, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We found a variety of opinions about the best method to handle the various plans, and the employee committee has provided some possibilities to management.

We used existing information from 4 Day Week Worldwide, particularly a few of its case studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered a fair bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of minimized hours puts a lot of pressure on workers who have efficiency 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 vacations on Fridays, and Sunday vacations on Mondays.

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

Vacations 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 days off.

That method, employees can still take advantage of the periodic extra-short week, but we aren’t developing too many high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

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

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

And that’s good.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most important due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific staff member, group, or business, it’s difficult to discover time to enhance performance and eliminate roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and essential. It will likewise show you where the greatest 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 unexpectedly get a lot more troublesome for everybody involved.

We found this extremely helpful, and it’s been a big push that all of us required to tackle inefficiencies as a group.

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 critical: Our committee of staff members overseeing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All employees have actually been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and ideas via an anonymized recommendation box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

  • Who feels like they have to work extra time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anyone feel that application has been unreasonable?

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was important to have a committee of staff members from several levels that was empowered not only to hear employee issues, but also to make choices 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 obstructions and stumbles we’ve had along the method.

We have to do with halfway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to work out, the total sentiment is positive.

We absolutely have some huge concerns to answer and some huge workflow concerns to tackle.

The four-day work week not just provides us more control over our individual lives however also presses us to solve existing problems 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 compose an update soon to discuss some of the outcomes.

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel