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

Posted by

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

One of the essential tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested a worker vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of workers to hear concerns and implement a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming near the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to write about a few of the successes and challenges we have actually encountered up until now.

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

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

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

The Greatest Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced many benefits, and I’ll go through them in a future short article.

Let’s solve into the difficulties we found with the pilot program and the services we’ve executed 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 might send important or time-sensitive messages.

If your business’s schedule isn’t efficiently communicated, this might cause aggravation and missed due dates.

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

We chose to resist the temptation to attempt and discover workarounds that ensure we keep protection for the complete week.

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

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

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

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

To keep whatever fair and prevent some workers from handling extra concerns, we chose that everybody ought to take the exact same day of rest, and it should be implemented as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

There have been some situations where people put in extra time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though only twice), but in basic, we find that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the exact same day. It’s simpler to maintain the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

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

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

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

This needs support from management and every employee to make sure that external-facing groups don’t take on a heavier concern than others.

We’re still executing this. Different teams have various communication duties.

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

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

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

How to guarantee that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all celebrations is a challenge we continue to attend to.

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

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

We found a range of viewpoints about the best method to manage the different arrangements, and the employee committee has provided some possibilities to leadership.

We utilized existing details from 4 Day Week Global, particularly some of its case studies, to assist our conversations.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered quite a bit of frustration and concern. That extension of lowered hours puts a great deal of pressure on workers who have efficiency KPIs to meet.

Part of the issue 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 holidays on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we chose that we should customize that policy.

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

That way, staff members can still gain 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 Pain Points– This Is Excellent, Really

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

And that’s good.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most vital due dates that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private employee, team, or company, it’s tough to discover time to improve effectiveness and remove roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and essential. It will likewise reveal you where the biggest pain points are.

This can be a little a shock. If you have a specific procedure using up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, conferences), it will all of a sudden get far more problematic for everyone involved.

We found this extremely helpful, and it’s been a big push that we all needed to tackle inefficiencies as a group.

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

But here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is vital: Our committee of staff members managing the program has been empowered to make choices and set objectives. All workers have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas by means of an anonymized suggestion box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

  • Who seems 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 realities everyone will feel comfy putting their name to, or taking straight to leadership.

That’s why SEJ thought it was very important to have a committee of workers from numerous levels that was empowered not just to hear employee issues, but likewise 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 numerous kinks to work out, the general belief is positive.

We absolutely have some huge concerns to respond to and some huge workflow issues to take on.

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

We’re collecting feedback from all team members about the program as we go. I’ll write an upgrade soon to talk about some of the results.

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel