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

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In September, SMM Panel personnel voted to approve 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 crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management requested for a worker vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of employees to hear issues and execute a policy regarding the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wished to discuss some of the successes and difficulties we’ve experienced so far.

If you’re thinking of executing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this details 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 everybody.
  • People shouldn’t be trying to fit more time into their week in other ways. It ought to be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • The end outcome ought to make life better and less difficult throughout the work week– not more demanding.

The Biggest Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We have actually experienced lots of advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future post.

Let’s solve into the challenges we found with the pilot program and the solutions we have actually carried out so far.

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

Teams that handle anybody externally may have a harder modification to four-day weeks.

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

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

These teams might have extra concerns about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with immediate problems that show up throughout off days.

We chose to withstand the temptation to try and discover workarounds that guarantee we keep protection for the full week.

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

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

However, four-day weeks are a challenging adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the more likely you will not get full application across the entire company.

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

To keep everything reasonable and avoid some workers from taking on extra problems, we decided that everyone ought to take the exact same day of rest, and it must be enforced as closure time– a minimum of throughout of our trial.

There have been some scenarios where people put in additional time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though just two times), but in general, we discover that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the very same day. It’s simpler to preserve the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you fix the issues external groups will come across?

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

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

This needs support from management and every staff member to ensure that external-facing groups don’t take on a heavier problem than others.

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

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Per Hour Workers, And Contractors In a different way

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

SEJ utilizes people all over the world and has a range of different contracts and plans. We have some full-time contractors, some part-time specialists, and even some hourly arrangements.

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

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

Due to the fact that we have a lot of various kinds of employment plans, how to best manage the program for each type of staff member is a continuous conversation, and agreement employees have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We found a range of viewpoints about the best way to manage the different arrangements, and the staff member committee has actually provided some possibilities to management.

We utilized existing info from 4 Day Week Worldwide, particularly some of its case studies, to guide our discussions.

Do Holidays 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 aggravation and issue. That extension of reduced hours puts a great deal of pressure on staff members who have performance KPIs to fulfill.

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 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 throughout the work week. Holidays that fall throughout the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still result in day of rests.

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

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Performance Pain Points– This Is Good, Really

If you have issues with your workflow or productivity, try out four-day weeks will make them urgent.

Which’s great.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most critical deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, team, or business, it’s tough to find time to enhance effectiveness and eliminate roadblocks.

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

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

We found this extremely helpful, and it’s been a huge push that we all required to tackle ineffectiveness as a group.

We’re still working on 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 crucial: Our committee of workers managing the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All employees have been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas via an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you need the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was essential to have a committee of staff members from multiple levels that was empowered not only to hear worker 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 extensive list of the obstructions and stumbles we’ve had along the method.

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

We definitely have some big questions to respond to and some big workflow concerns to take on.

The four-day work week not just gives us more control over our personal lives however likewise presses us to resolve existing problems that we might not have otherwise focused on.

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

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel