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

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In September, SMM Panel personnel voted to authorize a trial run of a four-day work week program!

We’re running the program in collaboration 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 leadership asked for a staff member vote on whether to begin the trial. Leadership also nominated a committee of staff members to hear concerns and implement a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming up to the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to write about some of the successes and challenges we’ve experienced so far.

If you’re thinking about executing a four-day work week trial for your company, 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 trying to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% efficiency.
  • The end result need to make life much better and less demanding throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Biggest Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

If you’re reading this short article, I’m going to presume you’re currently on board with the potential advantages of four-day work weeks.

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

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

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

Groups that handle anybody externally might have a harder adjustment to four-day weeks.

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

If your business’s schedule isn’t efficiently communicated, this might trigger aggravation and missed out on deadlines.

These teams might have extra issues about the KPIs they are accountable for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with urgent problems that turn up during off days.

We chose to resist the temptation to attempt and find workarounds that guarantee we keep coverage for the full week.

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

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

However, four-day weeks are a tough adjustment, and the more complex you make it internally, the more likely you won’t get complete application throughout the entire company.

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

To keep everything reasonable and avoid some workers from handling additional problems, we chose that everybody ought to take the very same day of rest, and it must be enforced as closure time– a minimum of throughout of our trial.

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

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

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

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

This needs assistance from management and every employee to ensure that external-facing teams don’t handle a much heavier burden than others.

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

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Per Hour Workers, And Professionals Differently

For employed staff members, the four-day work week computation is pretty easy: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% efficiency.

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

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

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

Since we have many various kinds of work arrangements, how to best handle the program for each kind of worker is a continuous discussion, and contract employees have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions during the trial.

We discovered a variety of opinions about the best method to deal with the different plans, and the staff member committee has provided some possibilities to management.

We utilized existing info from 4 Day Week Global, particularly a few of its case studies, to direct our conversations.

Do Holidays Develop Three-Day Weeks?

During the 2nd week of our trial, we ended up with a three-day week.

This triggered quite a bit of aggravation and issue. That extension of decreased 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 holidays 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 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 during the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still lead to days off.

That way, employees can still take advantage of the occasional extra-short week, however we aren’t producing too many high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Productivity Discomfort Points– This Is Great, Actually

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

Which’s good.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the day-to-day work and the most important deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether private staff member, group, or company, it’s difficult to discover time to enhance effectiveness and get rid of obstructions.

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 bit of a shock. If you have a particular process taking up a great deal of time (like, I do not know, conferences), it will all of a sudden get far more problematic for everybody involved.

We found this extremely informative, and it’s been a huge push that all of us needed to take on ineffectiveness as a team.

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 critical: Our committee of employees supervising the program has actually been empowered to make choices and set goals. All workers have actually been invited to share their experiences, has a hard time, and recommendations by means of an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you need the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ believed it was very important to have a committee of employees from multiple levels that was empowered not only to hear employee concerns, but 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 exhaustive list of the obstructions and stumbles we’ve had along the method.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have lots of kinks to work out, the total sentiment is positive.

We absolutely have some big questions to answer and some big workflow problems to deal with.

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

We’re gathering feedback from all staff member about the program as we go. I’ll write an update quickly to talk about some of the outcomes.

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel