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

One of the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management requested a worker vote on whether to begin the trial. Management likewise chose a committee of staff members to hear concerns and carry out a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming up to the middle of our trial, and I wanted to discuss a few of the successes and difficulties we have actually experienced up until now.

If you’re considering carrying out 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 has to work for everyone.
  • People should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other methods. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% performance.
  • The end result must make life better and less stressful throughout the work week– not more difficult.

The Greatest Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

If you’re reading this post, I’m going to presume you’re currently on board with the potential advantages of four-day work weeks.

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

Let’s get right into the challenges we discovered with the pilot program and the services we have actually carried out up until now.

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

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

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

If your company’s schedule isn’t successfully communicated, this may trigger frustration and missed out on due dates.

These groups might have extra issues about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll need to be on-call to deal with immediate concerns that come up throughout off days.

We decided to resist 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 says, there isn’t one option that works for every company.

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

However, four-day weeks are a hard adjustment, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you won’t get complete execution across the entire business.

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

To keep whatever fair and prevent some employees from taking on extra concerns, we decided that everyone must take the very same day off, and it should be imposed as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

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

So, how do you resolve the problems external groups will encounter?

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

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

This requires support from management and every employee to guarantee that external-facing groups don’t handle a much heavier problem than others.

We’re still implementing this. Different teams have various interaction obligations.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Workers, And Specialists In a different way

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

SEJ employs people all over the world and has a range of different contracts and arrangements. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time specialists, and even some per hour arrangements.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all celebrations is an obstacle we continue to address.

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

Since we have many different kinds of work plans, how to finest manage the program for each type of staff member is an ongoing discussion, and contract workers have representation on the internal committee making policy choices throughout the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the very best method to manage the various arrangements, and the worker committee has presented some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing info from 4 Day Week International, particularly a few of its case studies, to direct our conversations.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused a fair bit of frustration and issue. That extension of reduced hours puts a great deal of pressure on staff members 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 chose that we must customize that policy.

Vacations 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, workers can still take advantage of the periodic 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 Discomfort Points– This Is Great, In fact

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

Which’s great.

It’s easy to get so caught up with the daily work and the most important due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, group, or company, it’s difficult 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 most significant discomfort points are.

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a particular procedure taking up a lot of time (like, I don’t know, meetings), it will unexpectedly get much more troublesome for everyone included.

We found this really informative, and it’s been a huge push that we all needed to take on 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 employees overseeing the program has been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All workers have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and suggestions by means of an anonymized tip 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 comfy putting their name to, or taking straight to leadership.

That’s why SEJ thought it was essential to have a committee of staff members 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 a lot of difficulties! The above isn’t an exhaustive 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 overall belief is positive.

We definitely have some huge concerns to address 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 resolve existing problems that we may not have actually otherwise focused on.

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

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel