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

Posted by

In September, 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 Worldwide as a six-month pilot.

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

We’re coming up to the halfway point of our trial, and I wished to discuss a few of the successes and difficulties we have actually encountered so far.

If you’re thinking about executing 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 couple of crucial tenets:

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

The Most significant Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s solve into the obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the options we’ve implemented up until now.

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

Teams that deal with anybody externally might have a harder change to four-day weeks.

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

If your company’s schedule isn’t effectively interacted, this may cause frustration and missed out on due dates.

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

We decided to withstand the temptation to attempt and discover workarounds that ensure we keep protection for the full week.

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

We discussed at length the possibility of having different teams or various employees working various schedules.

However, four-day weeks are a tough modification, and the more complicated you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get complete implementation across the entire business.

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

To keep whatever reasonable and prevent some staff members from handling additional problems, we decided that everyone ought to take the exact same day off, and it should be implemented as closure time– a minimum of throughout of our trial.

There have been some scenarios where individuals put in extra time on a Friday (I have actually done it, though just two times), but in basic, we discover that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the same day. It’s easier to maintain the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

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

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

You’ll need to send out constant suggestions. It’s excellent to put the information on your website, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

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

We’re still executing this. Various groups have various interaction duties.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Per Hour Workers, And Specialists Differently

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

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

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

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

Because we have so many different types of work plans, how to finest handle the program for each type of staff member is a continuous discussion, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions throughout the trial.

We discovered a variety of opinions about the best method to manage the different plans, and the employee committee has provided some possibilities to leadership.

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

Do Holidays Produce Three-Day Weeks?

Throughout the second 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 lot of pressure on staff members who have efficiency KPIs to fulfill.

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 vacations on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we decided that we need to 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 result in days off.

That method, staff members can still gain from 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 Productivity Pain Points– This Is Excellent, Really

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

Which’s great.

It’s easy to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most crucial due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific staff member, group, or business, it’s hard to find time to enhance performance and remove roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and required. It will also reveal you where the most significant discomfort points are.

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a specific procedure using up a great deal of time (like, I do not know, meetings), it will all of a sudden get a lot more problematic for everyone included.

We found this really useful, and it’s been a huge push that all of us needed to tackle inadequacies as a group.

We’re still dealing with it. The problem 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 managing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All workers have been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and tips by means of an anonymized recommendation 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 application has been unfair?

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was very important to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not only to hear employee issues, but 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 method.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have numerous kinks to work out, the general belief is favorable.

We certainly have some big questions to answer and some big workflow issues to tackle.

The four-day work week not only provides us more control over our individual lives but likewise presses us to fix existing issues that we might not have otherwise focused on.

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

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel