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

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In September, Best SMM Panel personnel voted to authorize a trial run of a four-day work week program!

We’re running the program in partnership with 4 Day Week International as a six-month pilot.

Among the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership asked for an employee vote on whether to start the trial. Management also nominated a committee of staff members to hear concerns and execute a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the middle of our trial, and I wished to blog about some of the successes and challenges we’ve experienced so far.

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 crucial tenets:

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

The Greatest Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced many benefits, and I’ll go through them in a future short article.

Let’s get right into the difficulties we found with the pilot program and the options we have actually implemented so far.

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

Groups that deal with anyone externally might have a harder adjustment to four-day weeks.

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

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

These groups might have extra concerns about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll need to be on-call to deal with urgent issues that show up during off days.

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

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

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

However, four-day weeks are a tough adjustment, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you won’t get complete implementation throughout the entire company.

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

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

There have been some circumstances where people put in extra time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though only two times), but in basic, we find that the temptation is less popular if everybody observes the very same day. It’s much easier to maintain the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you resolve the problems external groups 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 need to send out continuous reminders. It’s great to put the information on your website, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This requires support from management and every worker to guarantee that external-facing teams don’t handle a much heavier burden than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various groups have various communication obligations.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Hourly Employees, And Specialists In a different way

For salaried staff members, the four-day work week estimation is quite simple: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% productivity.

SEJ uses individuals all over the world and has a variety of various agreements and plans. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time professionals, and even some per hour plans.

How to ensure that the four-day week is an equal benefit for all celebrations is an obstacle we continue to attend to.

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

Because we have so many various kinds of work arrangements, how to best manage the program for each type of worker is an ongoing conversation, and agreement workers have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the best way to manage the various arrangements, and the employee committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

We utilized existing info from 4 Day Week Worldwide, specifically a few of its case research studies, to guide our discussions.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused quite a bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of decreased hours puts a great deal of pressure on employees who have performance KPIs to satisfy.

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 holidays on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we chose that we must 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 days off.

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

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Discomfort Points– This Is Excellent, Actually

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

Which’s great.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the everyday work and the most crucial deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private worker, group, or business, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance effectiveness and remove obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and required. It will also reveal you where the most significant discomfort points are.

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a specific process using up a lot of time (like, I do not know, conferences), it will suddenly get far more bothersome for everybody involved.

We found this very useful, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to take on inadequacies as a team.

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

However here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is vital: Our committee of workers supervising the program has been empowered to make choices and set goals. All staff members have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas via an anonymized idea box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

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

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was essential to have a committee of staff members from multiple levels that was empowered not only to hear worker concerns, but also to make choices 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 exhaustive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the way.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to work out, the overall belief is positive.

We certainly have some huge questions to answer and some big workflow problems to deal with.

The four-day work week not only gives us more control over our individual lives however likewise presses us to solve existing issues that we might not have actually otherwise focused on.

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

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel