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

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In September, Online search engine Journal staff voted to approve 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 an employee vote on whether to begin the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of staff members to hear issues and carry out a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming up to the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to write about some of the successes and difficulties we’ve come across so far.

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

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • Individuals shouldn’t be attempting to fit more time into their week in other ways. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • Completion result need to make life better and less difficult throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Biggest Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced lots of benefits, 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 services we’ve implemented so far.

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

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

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

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

These teams may have extra issues about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with urgent concerns that show up during off days.

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

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

We went over at length the possibility of having various teams or different staff members working various schedules.

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

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

To keep everything reasonable and avoid some staff members from taking on additional problems, we decided that everybody ought to take the same day off, and it should be implemented as closure time– a minimum of for the duration of our trial.

There have been some circumstances where people put in extra time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though only twice), however in general, we discover that the temptation is less popular if everybody observes the exact 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 groups will encounter?

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

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

This needs assistance from management and every staff member to make sure that external-facing teams don’t handle a much heavier problem than others.

We’re still implementing this. Different groups have different interaction duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Per Hour Employees, And Professionals Differently

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

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

How to guarantee that the four-day week is an equal advantage for all celebrations is a challenge we continue to deal with.

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

Since we have numerous various kinds of work plans, how to best manage the program for each kind of employee is a continuous conversation, and agreement employees have representation on the internal committee making policy choices throughout the trial.

We found a range of viewpoints about the very best method to manage the different plans, and the worker committee has presented some possibilities to management.

We utilized existing information from 4 Day Week International, especially some of its case studies, to assist our conversations.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered a fair bit of disappointment and concern. That extension of decreased hours puts a lot of pressure on workers who have efficiency KPIs to satisfy.

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 holidays on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we decided that we should modify that policy.

Vacations 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 result in days off.

That method, staff members can still benefit 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 Efficiency Discomfort Points– This Is Excellent, In fact

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

And that’s good.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the daily work and the most critical due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private staff member, team, or company, it’s difficult to discover time to improve efficiency and eliminate obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and essential. It will likewise reveal you where the biggest discomfort points are.

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a particular process taking up a lot of time (like, I don’t know, meetings), it will suddenly get a lot more bothersome for everyone involved.

We discovered this extremely informative, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to tackle inadequacies as a group.

We’re still dealing with 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 important: Our committee of workers overseeing the program has been empowered to make choices and set goals. All workers have been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and ideas by means of an anonymized recommendation box.

For this program to work, you require the truth:

  • Who feels like they have 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 management.

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

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

As you can see, we had a lot of difficulties! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the obstructions and stumbles we have actually had along the way.

We have to do with halfway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to exercise, the overall sentiment is favorable.

We absolutely have some big concerns to respond to and some big workflow problems to take on.

The four-day work week not only provides us more control over our personal lives but likewise presses us to fix existing problems that we might not have otherwise prioritized.

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

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel