Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Difficulties [An SEJ Case 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 partnership with 4 Day Week International 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 a staff member vote on whether to begin the trial. Leadership also nominated a committee of employees to hear concerns and implement a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wished to blog about some of the successes and obstacles we’ve encountered up until now.

If you’re thinking about implementing a four-day work week trial for your company, 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 trying to fit more time into their week in other methods. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • Completion outcome ought to make life much better and less stressful throughout the work week– not more demanding.

The Most significant 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 benefits of four-day work weeks.

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

Let’s solve into the difficulties 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 Different Groups

Groups that handle anyone externally might have a harder adjustment to four-day weeks.

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

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

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

We decided to withstand 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 says, there isn’t one service that works for every business.

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

However, four-day weeks are a tough adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the most likely you will not get full implementation throughout the whole business.

Many business have workers who feel that it’s needed to put in extra hours.

To keep whatever fair and prevent some employees from taking on additional burdens, we decided that everyone ought to take the same day off, and it ought to be implemented as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

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

So, how do you fix the problems external teams will come across?

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

You’ll need to send constant reminders. It’s great to put the details on your website, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

This needs support from leadership and every employee to make sure that external-facing groups don’t handle a heavier concern than others.

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

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

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

SEJ employs individuals all over the world and has a range of various contracts and arrangements. We have some full-time professionals, some part-time professionals, and even some per hour plans.

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

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

Because we have so many various kinds of work plans, how to finest handle the program for each type of worker is an ongoing conversation, and agreement staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions throughout the trial.

We discovered a range of opinions about the best method to deal with the different arrangements, and the worker committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

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

Do Holidays Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered quite a bit of frustration and concern. That extension of decreased hours puts a great deal of pressure on staff members who have efficiency KPIs to satisfy.

Part of the concern 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 chose that we ought to customize that policy.

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

That method, employees can still take advantage of the periodic extra-short week, but we aren’t producing a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Performance Pain Points– This Is Excellent, In fact

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

Which’s good.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the everyday work and the most vital deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, team, or company, it’s hard to find time to improve efficiency and get rid of obstructions.

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

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

We discovered this really useful, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to deal with inefficiencies as a group.

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 staff members overseeing the program has been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All workers have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and suggestions through an anonymized suggestion box.

For this program to work, you need the reality:

  • Who seems like they have to work additional time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anyone feel that execution 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 just to hear employee concerns, however also to make choices about the program.

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

As you can see, we had a lot of obstacles! The above isn’t an extensive list of the obstructions and stumbles we’ve had along the way.

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

We certainly have some huge concerns to respond to and some huge workflow issues to take on.

The four-day work week not only gives us more control over our individual lives however also presses us to fix existing problems that we may not have actually otherwise prioritized.

We’re gathering feedback from all staff member about the program as we go. I’ll compose an update quickly to discuss some of the outcomes.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel