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

Posted by

In September, Online search engine Journal personnel 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 start the trial. Management likewise nominated a committee of staff members to hear issues and implement a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming up to the middle of our trial, and I wanted to write about a few of the successes and obstacles we have actually come across so far.

If you’re considering executing a four-day work week trial for your company, I hope this info can assist you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

The four-day work week experiment has a couple of crucial tenets:

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

The Biggest Difficulties 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 have actually experienced many advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future post.

Let’s get right into the obstacles we found with the pilot program and the solutions we have actually carried out up until now.

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

Teams that handle anyone externally may have a more difficult change to four-day weeks.

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

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

These groups may have additional issues about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to handle immediate concerns that come up throughout off days.

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

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

We discussed at length the possibility of having various teams or various staff members working various schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a difficult modification, and the more complicated you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get complete execution throughout the entire business.

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

To keep everything fair and avoid some staff members from taking on extra problems, we decided that everyone must take the exact same day off, and it needs to be imposed as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have been some scenarios where individuals put in extra time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though only two times), however in general, we find that the temptation is less popular 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 solve the issues external teams will encounter?

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

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

This needs support from leadership and every staff member to guarantee that external-facing teams don’t handle a heavier concern than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various teams have different interaction obligations.

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

For salaried employees, the four-day work week calculation is quite simple: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% performance.

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

How to ensure that the four-day week is an equal benefit for all celebrations is an obstacle we continue to resolve.

Our concern is an employee-lead approach to these concerns.

Due to the fact that we have so many various types of work arrangements, how to best handle the program for each type of employee is a continuous discussion, and agreement workers have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions throughout the trial.

We discovered a range of viewpoints about the best method to handle the various plans, and the worker committee has presented some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing details from 4 Day Week Worldwide, particularly a few of its case research studies, to direct our discussions.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused quite a bit of disappointment and issue. That extension of minimized hours puts a great deal 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 decided that we ought to modify that policy.

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

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

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

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

And that’s great.

It’s easy to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most crucial deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific staff member, team, or business, it’s difficult to find time to enhance effectiveness and get rid of roadblocks.

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

This can be a little a shock. If you have a particular process taking up a great deal of time (like, I don’t know, meetings), it will all of a sudden get much more problematic for everybody involved.

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

We’re still working on 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 critical: Our committee of workers managing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All employees have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and suggestions by means of an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you require the fact:

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

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was necessary to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not just to hear staff member concerns, however likewise to make decisions 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 have actually had along the method.

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

We certainly have some huge questions to respond to and some huge workflow issues to tackle.

The four-day work week not only gives us more control over our individual lives but also presses 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 upgrade soon to discuss a few of the results.

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel