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

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In September, Online search engine Journal staff 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.

One of the key tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested a staff member vote on whether to begin the trial. Management also nominated a committee of employees to hear issues and carry out a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming up to the halfway point of our trial, and I wanted to discuss a few of the successes and challenges we have actually come across so far.

If you’re thinking of implementing a four-day work week trial for your business, I hope this info can assist you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

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

  • It has to work for everybody.
  • Individuals shouldn’t be trying to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • The end outcome need to make life much better and less demanding during the work week– not more demanding.

The Biggest Challenges With A Four-Day Work Week

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

We’ve experienced lots of advantages, and I’ll go through them in a future post.

Let’s get right into the difficulties we discovered with the pilot program and the services we have actually carried out up until now.

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

Teams that handle anybody externally may have a harder change to four-day weeks.

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

If your company’s schedule isn’t efficiently interacted, this might trigger frustration and missed due dates.

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

We decided to resist the temptation to try and find workarounds that ensure we keep protection for the complete week.

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

We talked about at length the possibility of having various teams or various workers working various schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a challenging change, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you will not get full implementation across the entire company.

Lots of companies have staff members who feel that it’s essential to put in additional hours.

To keep whatever fair and prevent some staff members from handling extra problems, we decided that everyone needs to take the very same day of rest, and it must be implemented as closure time– at least for the duration of our trial.

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

So, how do you fix the problems external teams will encounter?

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

You’ll need to send constant reminders. It’s great to put the details on your site, email signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send out externally.

This needs support from management and every worker to make sure that external-facing groups do not take on a much heavier concern than others.

We’re still executing this. Various teams have various communication responsibilities.

A Four-Day Work Week Effects Part-Time And Per Hour Staff Members, And Professionals In a different way

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

SEJ utilizes individuals all over the world and has a variety of different contracts and plans. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time professionals, and even some per hour plans.

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

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

Since we have a lot of various kinds of employment plans, how to best handle the program for each type of staff member is a continuous discussion, and agreement workers have representation on the internal committee making policy choices throughout the trial.

We discovered a variety of viewpoints about the very best way to deal with the different arrangements, and the worker committee has presented some possibilities to management.

We used existing information from 4 Day Week Global, especially a few of its case studies, to assist our discussions.

Do Vacations Develop Three-Day Weeks?

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

This caused a fair bit of aggravation and issue. That extension of lowered hours puts a lot of pressure on employees who have performance KPIs to fulfill.

Part of the concern 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 holidays on Mondays.

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

Vacations that fall on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be observed during the work week. Holidays that fall during the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still result in days off.

That method, employees can still take advantage of the periodic extra-short week, but we aren’t developing a lot of high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Performance Pain Points– This Is Good, Actually

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

And that’s great.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most vital deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether individual worker, group, or business, it’s challenging to discover time to enhance performance and remove roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work urgent and essential. It will likewise show you where the most significant pain points are.

This can be a little a shock. If you have a particular process using up a great deal of time (like, I do not understand, meetings), it will unexpectedly get much more troublesome for everybody included.

We found this very useful, and it’s been a big push that we all needed to take on ineffectiveness as a group.

We’re still working on it. The problem with less time is that, well, you have less time.

But here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is important: Our committee of workers managing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All staff members have been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and tips via an anonymized tip box.

For this program to work, you require the reality:

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

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

That’s why SEJ thought it was essential to have a committee of workers from several levels that was empowered not only to hear staff member issues, however likewise to make choices about the program.

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

As you can see, we had plenty of difficulties! The above isn’t an extensive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we have actually had along the way.

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

We certainly have some huge questions to address and some huge workflow problems to take on.

The four-day work week not just gives us more control over our personal lives however likewise presses us to fix existing problems that we might not have actually otherwise prioritized.

We’re collecting feedback from all staff member about the program as we go. I’ll write an update quickly to go over a few of the results.

More resources:

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel