Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Difficulties [An SEJ Case Research 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 partnership with 4 Day Week Worldwide as a six-month pilot.

One of the key tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested a staff member vote on whether to start the trial. Management likewise chose a committee of staff members to hear issues and implement a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to discuss a few of the successes and challenges we have actually experienced so far.

If you’re considering carrying out a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this information can assist 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.
  • People shouldn’t be attempting to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • Completion outcome should make life better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more demanding.

The Greatest Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s get right into the challenges we discovered with the pilot program and the services we’ve implemented up until now.

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

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

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

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

These groups might have additional issues about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll need to be on-call to handle urgent concerns that turn up during off days.

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

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

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

However, four-day weeks are a challenging adjustment, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you will not get complete application throughout the whole business.

Many companies have staff members who feel that it’s required to put in extra hours.

To keep everything fair and prevent some employees from taking on additional problems, we chose that everybody must take the same day of rest, and it must be enforced as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have been some scenarios where individuals put in additional time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though only twice), however in basic, we find that the temptation is less popular if everyone observes the exact same day. It’s easier to keep the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you solve the issues external teams will come across?

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

You’ll require to send out constant reminders. It’s good to put the information on your site, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

This requires assistance from leadership and every worker to ensure that external-facing groups don’t handle a heavier burden than others.

We’re still executing this. Different groups have various interaction responsibilities.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Workers, And Professionals Differently

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

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

How to guarantee that the four-day week is an equivalent benefit for all parties is a challenge we continue to deal with.

Our priority is an employee-lead technique to these questions.

Due to the fact that we have many different kinds of employment plans, how to best handle the program for each type of worker is a continuous conversation, and agreement workers have representation on the internal committee making policy choices throughout the trial.

We discovered a variety of opinions about the very best way to deal with the different plans, and the employee committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing information from 4 Day Week Worldwide, especially some of its case research studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

During the 2nd week of our trial, we wound up with a three-day week.

This caused a fair bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of decreased hours puts a lot of pressure on employees who have efficiency KPIs to satisfy.

Part of the issue is that we had a policy that moved the observance of holidays 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.

Holidays that fall on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be observed during the work week. Holidays that fall during the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still result in days off.

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

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Discomfort Points– This Is Good, In fact

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

Which’s great.

It’s simple to get so overtaken the everyday work and the most crucial deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual employee, group, or business, it’s hard to find time to enhance performance and get rid of roadblocks.

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

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a specific procedure taking up a great deal of time (like, I do not know, meetings), it will all of a sudden get far more bothersome for everyone involved.

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

We’re still dealing with 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 important: Our committee of workers managing the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All staff members have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and recommendations through an anonymized idea box.

For this program to work, you require the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was important to have a committee of employees from multiple levels that was empowered not only to hear worker concerns, but 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 exhaustive list of the obstructions and stumbles we have actually had along the method.

We have to do with midway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to work out, the general sentiment is favorable.

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

The four-day work week not only offers us more control over our personal lives however also pushes us to solve existing problems that we may not have actually otherwise focused on.

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

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel