Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Challenges [An SEJ Case 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 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. Management also nominated a committee of staff members to hear concerns and carry out a policy relating to the trial.

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

If you’re thinking about implementing 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 key tenets:

  • It has to work for everyone.
  • People should not be trying to fit more time into their week in other ways. It needs to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • Completion result need to make life much better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more demanding.

The Biggest Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced lots of 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’ve carried out up until now.

A Four-Day Work Week Has Various Implications For Different Groups

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

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

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

These groups might have extra issues about the KPIs they are accountable 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 guarantee we keep coverage for the full week.

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

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

However, four-day weeks are a tough change, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you will not get full application throughout the entire business.

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

To keep whatever fair and avoid some workers from handling extra problems, we decided that everybody needs to take the very same day of rest, and it needs to be implemented as closure time– a minimum of throughout of our trial.

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

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

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

You’ll require to send out consistent tips. It’s great to put the information on your website, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This requires support from leadership and every staff member to make sure that external-facing groups do not take on a much heavier burden than others.

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

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

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

SEJ uses individuals all over the world and has a variety of various contracts and plans. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time professionals, and even some hourly plans.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all celebrations is an obstacle we continue to address.

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

Due to the fact that we have a lot of various types of employment plans, how to best manage the program for each kind of staff member is an ongoing conversation, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the very best way to handle the different arrangements, and the worker committee has actually presented some possibilities to leadership.

We utilized existing info from 4 Day Week Global, specifically some of its case studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Holidays Develop Three-Day Weeks?

Throughout 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 decreased hours puts a great deal of pressure on employees who have performance 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 holidays on Fridays, and Sunday vacations 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 during the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still lead to days off.

That way, workers can still gain from 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 Productivity Discomfort Points– This Is Great, Actually

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

Which’s great.

It’s simple to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most critical deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual employee, team, or company, it’s tough to find time to improve performance and get rid of roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and necessary. It will also show you where the greatest discomfort points are.

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a particular process taking up a lot of time (like, I do not know, meetings), it will unexpectedly get much more troublesome for everyone included.

We discovered this really helpful, and it’s been a big push that all of us required to tackle ineffectiveness as a team.

We’re still working on 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 vital: Our committee of staff members managing the program has been empowered to make choices and set goals. All workers have actually been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and recommendations through an anonymized recommendation box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

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

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

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

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

As you can see, we had lots of difficulties! The above isn’t an extensive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we’ve had along the method.

We have to do with midway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to exercise, the general sentiment is favorable.

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

The four-day work week not only offers us more control over our personal lives but also pushes us to solve existing issues that we may not have otherwise prioritized.

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

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel