Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Obstacles [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 collaboration with 4 Day Week Global 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 also chose a committee of workers to hear issues and carry out a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wished to write about a few of the successes and difficulties we have actually experienced up until now.

If you’re thinking of carrying out a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this info can help you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

The four-day work week experiment has a few essential tenets:

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • People should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other ways. It ought to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • Completion outcome ought to make life better and less difficult throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Most significant Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced lots of advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future post.

Let’s solve into the obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the options we have actually executed up until now.

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

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

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

If your business’s schedule isn’t effectively interacted, this may cause disappointment 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 handle urgent problems that show up during off days.

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

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having different groups or various staff members working various schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a tough adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get full execution across the whole business.

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

To keep everything reasonable and avoid some workers from taking on extra problems, we chose that everybody must take the very same day of rest, and it ought to be enforced as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have been some situations where people put in additional time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though just two times), however in general, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everyone 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 issues external groups will experience?

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

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

This requires assistance from leadership and every staff member to guarantee that external-facing teams don’t take on a much heavier concern than others.

We’re still executing this. Various groups have different interaction duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Per Hour Staff Members, And Contractors Differently

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

SEJ employs individuals all over the world and has a range of various agreements and arrangements. We have some full-time professionals, some part-time specialists, and even some hourly arrangements.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equal advantage for all parties is a difficulty we continue to address.

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

Because we have numerous different types of work arrangements, how to finest manage the program for each type of worker is an ongoing 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 worker committee has provided some possibilities to management.

We utilized existing information from 4 Day Week International, specifically some of its case research studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Holidays Create Three-Day Weeks?

Throughout the second 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 lot of pressure on employees who have efficiency KPIs to meet.

Part of the concern 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 must customize that policy.

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

That method, staff members can still benefit from the occasional 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 Pain Points– This Is Good, Really

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

And that’s excellent.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most vital deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual employee, group, or business, it’s tough to find time to enhance effectiveness and eliminate roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and essential. It will likewise show you where the greatest pain points are.

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a particular process using up a lot of time (like, I do not understand, meetings), it will all of a sudden get much more problematic for everyone included.

We found this extremely useful, and it’s been a huge push that all of us needed to tackle inefficiencies as a team.

We’re still dealing with it. The problem with less time is that, well, you have less time.

However here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is critical: Our committee of employees supervising the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All staff members have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, has a hard time, and recommendations by means of an anonymized recommendation box.

For this program to work, you require the fact:

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

These aren’t facts everyone will feel comfortable putting their name to, or taking directly to leadership.

That’s why SEJ believed it was necessary to have a committee of workers from several levels that was empowered not only to hear staff member 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 obstructions and stumbles we’ve had along the method.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have numerous kinks to work out, the general sentiment is positive.

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

The four-day work week not just offers us more control over our individual lives however also presses us to fix existing problems that we may not have otherwise focused on.

We’re gathering feedback from all employee about the program as we go. I’ll compose an upgrade soon to discuss a few of the results.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel