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

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

We’re running the program in collaboration with 4 Day Week International as a six-month pilot.

One of the crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership asked for an employee vote on whether to start the trial. Leadership also nominated a committee of employees to hear issues and execute a policy concerning the trial.

We’re coming up to the middle of our trial, and I wished to blog about some of the successes and obstacles we have actually experienced so far.

If you’re considering implementing 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 couple of essential tenets:

  • It needs to work for everyone.
  • Individuals 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 need to make life much better and less difficult throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Most significant Difficulties With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced many advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future 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 Implications For Various Groups

Teams that deal with anybody 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 might send out important or time-sensitive messages.

If your company’s schedule isn’t successfully communicated, this may trigger aggravation and missed due dates.

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

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

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having various groups or different staff members working different schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a challenging modification, and the more complicated you make it internally, the most likely you won’t get complete application throughout the whole business.

Numerous business have employees who feel that it’s needed to put in extra hours.

To keep everything fair and avoid some staff members from taking on extra concerns, we chose that everyone must take the same day off, and it should be imposed as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

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

So, how do you resolve the problems external teams will experience?

Clear interaction 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 continuous tips. It’s good to put the details on your site, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

This needs support from management and every worker to make sure that external-facing groups don’t handle a heavier problem than others.

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

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

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

SEJ uses individuals all over the world and has a range 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 equivalent benefit for all parties is an obstacle we continue to deal with.

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

Due to the fact that we have so many various types of work arrangements, how to finest handle the program for each type of staff member is an ongoing discussion, and contract staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy choices throughout the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the very best way to handle the various arrangements, and the employee committee has actually provided some possibilities to management.

We used existing info from 4 Day Week International, especially a few of its case studies, to guide our conversations.

Do Vacations Create Three-Day Weeks?

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

This triggered a fair bit of aggravation and issue. That extension of decreased hours puts a lot of pressure on employees 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 holidays on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we decided that we must modify that policy.

Holidays 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 lead to day of rests.

That way, employees can still take advantage of the periodic 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 Pain Points– This Is Great, Actually

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

Which’s great.

It’s easy to get so overtaken the daily work and the most crucial deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual employee, team, or company, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance performance and get rid of obstructions.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and necessary. It will also show you where the most significant pain points are.

This can be a little a shock. If you have a particular process taking up a great deal of time (like, I do not know, meetings), it will all of a sudden get much more troublesome for everybody involved.

We found this really helpful, and it’s been a huge push that all of us needed to take on ineffectiveness as a group.

We’re still working on 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 staff members managing the program has been empowered to make decisions and set objectives. All workers have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and recommendations through an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you need the truth:

  • Who feels like they need to work extra time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anybody feel that application has been unjust?

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was important to have a committee of staff members from multiple levels that was empowered not just to hear staff member issues, however 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 challenges! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the method.

We’re about midway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to exercise, the total belief is favorable.

We definitely have some huge concerns to respond to and some huge workflow problems to deal with.

The four-day work week not just gives us more control over our individual lives however also presses us to resolve existing issues that we might not have actually otherwise prioritized.

We’re gathering feedback from all employee about the program as we go. I’ll compose an update quickly to go over some of the outcomes.

More resources:

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel