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

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In September, Best SMM Panel 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 Worldwide as a six-month pilot.

Among the crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why management requested a staff member vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership likewise nominated a committee of employees to hear concerns and carry out a policy concerning 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 encountered up until now.

If you’re considering carrying out a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this information can assist 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.
  • People shouldn’t be trying to fit more time into their week in other methods. It must be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • Completion result ought to make life better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more demanding.

The Biggest Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

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

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

Let’s get right into the obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the services we have actually executed so far.

A Four-Day Work Week Has Different Implications For Different Groups

Teams that handle anyone externally may have a harder adjustment to four-day weeks.

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

If your business’s schedule isn’t successfully interacted, this might cause disappointment and missed due dates.

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

We chose to withstand the temptation to try and discover workarounds that ensure we keep coverage for the complete week.

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

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

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a challenging modification, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you will not get complete application throughout the whole company.

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

To keep everything reasonable and prevent some staff members from handling extra problems, we decided that everybody needs to take the very same day off, and it needs to be enforced as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have been some scenarios where individuals put in additional time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though just two times), however in general, we discover that the temptation is less prominent if everyone observes the exact 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 teams will come across?

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

You’ll need to send consistent reminders. It’s good to put the info on your website, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

This requires assistance from leadership and every staff member to guarantee that external-facing groups don’t handle a much heavier burden than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various groups have various interaction responsibilities.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Workers, And Contractors Differently

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

SEJ employs people all over the world and has a variety of various contracts and plans. We have some full-time professionals, some part-time contractors, and even some hourly plans.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equal benefit for all parties is an obstacle we continue to resolve.

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

Since we have so many various types of work plans, how to finest handle the program for each type of staff member is a continuous conversation, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy choices during the trial.

We found a range of opinions about the best way to handle the various arrangements, and the employee committee has actually provided some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing details from 4 Day Week Global, specifically a few of its case research studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Holidays Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered a fair bit of aggravation and issue. That extension of minimized hours puts a great deal of pressure on workers who have performance KPIs to meet.

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 holidays on Fridays, and Sunday vacations on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we decided that we ought to customize that policy.

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

That method, workers can still take advantage of the occasional 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 Pain Points– This Is Great, Actually

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

Which’s good.

It’s simple to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most important deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, group, or business, it’s tough to discover time to enhance effectiveness and eliminate obstructions.

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

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a specific procedure taking up a lot of time (like, I do not know, conferences), it will unexpectedly get a lot more troublesome for everyone included.

We found this extremely useful, and it’s been a big push that all of us needed to take on inefficiencies as a group.

We’re still working on 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 critical: Our committee of employees supervising the program has been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All workers have actually been invited to share their experiences, struggles, and ideas through an anonymized recommendation box.

For this program to work, you need the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was necessary to have a committee of staff members from numerous levels that was empowered not only to hear employee concerns, however also to make decisions about the program.

How Is SEJ’s Four-Day Work Week Working?

As you can see, we had plenty of obstacles! The above isn’t an extensive list of the obstructions and stumbles we’ve had along the way.

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

We absolutely have some big concerns to answer and some big workflow problems to take on.

The four-day work week not only offers us more control over our personal lives but likewise pushes us to resolve existing problems that we might not have actually otherwise focused on.

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

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Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel