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 collaboration with 4 Day Week International as a six-month pilot.

Among the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership asked for a staff member vote on whether to begin the trial. Management likewise nominated a committee of workers to hear issues and execute a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to discuss some of the successes and difficulties we’ve come across up until now.

If you’re considering implementing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this info can help you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It has to work for everyone.
  • People should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other ways. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% performance.
  • Completion result should make life better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more demanding.

The Biggest Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

If you’re reading this post, I’m going to presume you’re currently on board with the prospective advantages 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 obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the solutions we have actually executed up until now.

A Four-Day Work Week Has Various Implications For Different Teams

Groups that deal with anyone externally might have a more difficult modification to four-day weeks.

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

If your business’s schedule isn’t effectively communicated, this may trigger aggravation and missed out on due dates.

These teams may have extra concerns about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to handle immediate issues that show up during off days.

We decided to withstand the temptation to attempt and find workarounds that guarantee we keep protection for the complete week.

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having various groups or various staff members working various schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a difficult adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get complete application across the whole company.

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

To keep whatever fair and prevent some staff members from taking on additional problems, we chose that everyone must take the very same day off, and it ought to be enforced as closure time– a minimum of for the duration of our trial.

There have actually been some situations where individuals put in additional time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though only two times), however in basic, we discover that the temptation is less popular if everybody observes the very 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 communication is our response. Be public about your brand-new schedule, and connect to any external stakeholders to notify them.

You’ll require to send consistent tips. It’s excellent to put the info on your site, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

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

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

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Per Hour Employees, And Specialists In a different way

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

SEJ uses people all over the world and has a range of different agreements and plans. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time contractors, and even some per hour plans.

How to guarantee that the four-day week is an equal advantage for all parties is a difficulty we continue to attend to.

Our priority is an employee-lead method to these concerns.

Because we have numerous different kinds of employment arrangements, how to finest handle the program for each type of employee is an ongoing conversation, and contract workers have representation on the internal committee making policy choices throughout the trial.

We found a range of opinions about the very best way to manage the different plans, and the employee committee has presented some possibilities to management.

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

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 issue. That extension of lowered hours puts a great deal of pressure on staff members who have performance KPIs to meet.

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 holidays on Mondays.

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

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

That method, staff members can still benefit from the periodic extra-short week, however we aren’t developing a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Discomfort Points– This Is Excellent, Really

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

And that’s good.

It’s simple to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most vital deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual employee, group, or business, it’s difficult to find time to enhance efficiency and eliminate obstructions.

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

This can be a bit of a shock. If you have a specific process using up a great deal of time (like, I do not understand, conferences), it will unexpectedly get far more troublesome for everyone included.

We discovered this really informative, and it’s been a huge push that all of us required to take on inefficiencies as a team.

We’re still dealing with it. The problem with less time is that, well, you have less time.

But here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is critical: Our committee of workers supervising the program has been empowered to make decisions and set objectives. All workers have been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and recommendations via an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

  • Who feels like they need to work extra time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anyone feel that implementation has been unfair?

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was essential to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not only to hear worker issues, but also 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 method.

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

We certainly have some huge questions to address and some big workflow problems to tackle.

The four-day work week not just gives us more control over our individual lives however likewise pushes us to fix existing issues that we may not have otherwise focused on.

We’re collecting feedback from all team members about the program as we go. I’ll write an update quickly to talk about a few of the outcomes.

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel