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

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In September, Best SMM Panel staff voted to authorize 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 crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management requested a worker vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise nominated a committee of employees to hear concerns and execute a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming near the middle of our trial, and I wanted to discuss some of the successes and obstacles we’ve encountered so far.

If you’re thinking about executing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this information 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.
  • People should not be trying to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • The end result should make life much better and less demanding during the work week– not more demanding.

The Most significant Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s get right into the obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the options we’ve carried out up until now.

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

Teams that handle anyone 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 may send out important or time-sensitive messages.

If your business’s schedule isn’t successfully interacted, this may trigger frustration and missed deadlines.

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

We chose to withstand the temptation to try and discover workarounds that guarantee we keep protection for the full week.

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having different teams or various workers working different schedules.

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

Numerous companies have employees who feel that it’s necessary to put in additional hours.

To keep whatever reasonable and prevent some staff members from taking on extra burdens, we decided that everybody ought to take the same day of rest, and it ought to be imposed as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

There have been some circumstances where people put in additional time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though only twice), but in basic, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the exact 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 problems external teams will experience?

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

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

This requires support from management and every staff member to make sure that external-facing teams don’t handle a heavier burden than others.

We’re still executing this. Various groups have various communication responsibilities.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Per Hour Employees, And Professionals In a different way

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

SEJ utilizes people all over the world and has a variety of various agreements and arrangements. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time specialists, and even some per hour arrangements.

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

Our top priority is an employee-lead technique to these concerns.

Because we have a lot of different kinds of employment plans, how to best handle the program for each type of staff member is a continuous discussion, and contract employees have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

We discovered a range of viewpoints about the best method to deal with the different plans, and the worker committee has actually presented some possibilities to management.

We used existing details from 4 Day Week Global, particularly some of its case research studies, to direct our discussions.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused quite a bit of frustration and issue. That extension of reduced hours puts a lot of pressure on workers 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 vacations on Mondays.

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

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

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

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Productivity Discomfort Points– This Is Good, Really

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

Which’s excellent.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the day-to-day work and the most crucial deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private employee, team, or business, it’s hard to find time to enhance performance and remove roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and required. It will likewise reveal you where the biggest pain points are.

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a particular procedure using up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, meetings), it will suddenly get a lot more troublesome for everybody included.

We discovered this extremely helpful, and it’s been a big push that we all required to deal with ineffectiveness 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 workers supervising the program has been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All employees have been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and recommendations via an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you need the truth:

  • Who feels like they need to work extra time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anybody feel that implementation has been unfair?

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was necessary to have a committee of staff members from several levels that was empowered not just to hear staff member concerns, but also to make decisions 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 extensive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the method.

We’re about halfway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to work out, the overall sentiment is positive.

We definitely have some huge questions to address and some huge workflow problems to take on.

The four-day work week not only gives us more control over our personal lives but likewise presses us to solve existing problems 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 talk about some of the outcomes.

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel