Since we firstly kicked off a 4-day project week in May 2020, people have had a lot of questions about it. What day are we taking off? How long will we continue this practice? Is everyone genuinely working four-days a few weeks or are some people working more? Some of the answers to these questions have changed over the last few months, and I’m sure some will continue to change and evolve as we learn more about operating within a four-day work week. A little while ago, I decided to answer questions about our four-day work week plan on Twitter, and I got a fantastic response. I’ve included a high-level recap in this post, but feel free to check out the whole thread if you’d like to see every reply. Without further ado, here are some of the questions I got about the four-day work week organized into a few cases top categories, along with my replies and those of Caryn Hubbard, our VP of Finance, and Asa Nystrom, our VP of Customer Advocacy, that have participated in several answers.
Why a 4-day run week?
Pranay questioned: Why did it take a pandemic to implement it and why is a 4 period operate week question – cant it only is related to the work itself instead of timing it? We’ve thought about it for years, and I have a fundamental belief that 5-day workweeks aren’t inevitably optimal. The pandemic meant added stress for all of us, particularly for the parents in the team. I wanted to get through it with the team, mentally, in the best position.I believe that many industries that are mashing every last drop they can get out of their companies in terms of profit, productivity, etc. abruptly ran into issues in the pandemic. Proliferation goals to made and no earning perimeter, necessitated layoffs for many companies.And when you stimulate layoffs, you erode trust significantly with your team. That can take years to build back. I wanted to build trust with my crew through the pandemic. This was one of the best ways that I thought to do it.
How does it work?
Niel questioned: Does everyone take the same day off? Or is it up to the individual? Or is it based on teams? Or something more nuanced? In the beginning, we experimented with teams deciding the working day, but knowing which day and having adequate time for cross-team collaboration was a challenge. Frankly it felt quite chaotic. Now, we do Fridays other than Customer Advocacy which rotate the day.Shubham questioned: Which 4 days of the week do you work? M – TH or Tu – Fr or something else? Do you find that the team tries to fit in 5 days of work in 4? For the majority of the team, we do M – TH. In the beginning I tried Wednesdays as my day off, and enjoyed that but I favor Fridays now. 3-day weekends are very powerful. I think overall, the team tries to work smarter. Perhaps trying to fit 4.5 periods into 4. David asked: woah didn’t know you were doing this – enjoy it what would your reasons be for going back to 5 day? The reasons would likely be not achieving our aim, which would be sad because I basically don’t believe it’s putting in hours that will get us there.And, one key thing is that over time, we’ve realized that 4-days should feel like a privilege , not entitled. So, if you get your chores and goals for the week done, awesome – take that day off. If you didn’t quite do enough for us to reach our goals, expend part of Friday working.Scott requested: Doing a 4, 10 ’s type of deal? Or not tracking precise hours, rather output and motion? Not tracking precise hours, and more focus on tracking output. The goal is to achieve the same if not more, in less overall hours worked( more along the lines of 4 8’s ). Gaya questioned: That’s awesome! Hopefully more corporations will follow to normalise this. Q: Did the salaries stay the same? I know people who are holding back from running less because of decrease in payNo change to salaries at Buffer with our 4-day workweeks. It’s less hours for the same pay. I don’t believe in same hours in less periods, because for me 4-day workweeks are really about a more fundamental belief that hours worked are not correlated with results.Stone asked: Love that you did this! Do you build in any deep work/ no sessions time as well? Do you think the pandemic was needed for the transition/ will you keep @it when roles reopen? How confident are you that people aren’t working longer 4 days or actually taking Friday off? For many years we’ve had discussions and focus on deep work, and many teams have a day with no sessions. I don’t belief the pandemic was needed to do it, but it was a motivator. I’m confident we’ll keep at it after, too. We’re already 100% remote so no actual offices.I’m self-confident in most cases people are taking the Friday off. That said, we likewise don’t actively discourage operating a little on Friday, if the team member feels that is needed to achieve our goals. We have large-hearted desires for what we can do for customers* and* innovating culture.
How do specific crews and teammates control a 4-day operate week?
Dwija asked: Do you have moms working as full time employees? If working hours of those 4 periods increase – how do they oversee? I know it depends on them but just curious. Females are taking a made – BIG TIME in Covid.( For lesson: Yours truly) From Caryn: We have many mothers and fathers at Buffer. Our shift to the flexibility of a 4 day workweek has is an element of “the worlds largest” key things preserving my family of 5 health& safe this past year. The trust& flexible to work the schedule that works for me& my family is everything.From Joel: To add to the great insights Caryn shared, our decision to try a 4DWW was very much with parents in thinker. Working hours haven’t increased. We working very hard as a team to strive to achieve our goals without regularly working more hours. More here .Mark requested: Does customer support participate in the 4-day week? If so, how do you stagger hours/ encounter client beliefs? Yes, they do, but we still want to serve customers to the same high level. Over time, we’ve tweaked our 4-day workweek to drive us to push ourselves in the 4-days and feel like we’ve actually deserved that day off , not gain access to it.Our customer support team is the one squad that switches up the day off in order to make sure we maintain coverage for customers.Stefan asked: Are the customer-facing crews doing 4-day work weeks as well? If so, are they all off on Fridays? If so, are customers’ emails/ calls not answered till Monday? No, we have to take a slightly more unique approach in our customer service team. We’re fully committed to providing world-class service, and we know the world runs M-F( and even weekends ). The specific period is different per team member, so more of a relay in that team.Have y’all had any issues with a handoff from one crew member to another in this relay system? From Asa: Jumping in to help with this q. No issues! We work in four-day blocks and use an assigned inbox flowing to keep consistency in our patron communications. Our team extends most of the globe and are in constant communication across the week to keep on top of issues etc.Jean requested: Do you have a strong customer support team in terms of number of people? Are you likewise applying this formula to tech crew? Our customer support team is 21 people out of 85. All teams adopting such 4-day workweek, but we also have purposes we strive for and we determine the 5th period as something payed not entitled.Mercer go along with: Does that means that your support team doesn’t ever get the same time off? How do you strive to protect the time of your customer-facing crews( who so often don’t get the same bless as the other squads around them )? It’s not necessarily that different for our support team, but it’s often more measurable for a support team. So we aim to be mindful of that. But we also have engineering crews that will work the 5th day if they don’t feel on track. Most crews operate 4-days now.From Asa: Everyone on the CS team works a 4-day block& has the same days off every week to make sure we have the same ability to disengage and recharge! Being customer-facing doesn’t mean we can’t participate in company initiatives like these, it merely means we need to plan a bit more.Sllyllyd asked: Do the more senior crew members stick with four days? In general, yes. Often the more senior team members are the ones who feel the most accountability and energy for aims, and so we sometimes run the extra day to get make sure we’re on track. It’s not standards and norms, though, and when we do it’s typically only a couple of hours.From Caryn: There’s a high level of flexible and trust that we’ll convene our shared and individual goals w/ in the schedule that works best for us. As a mommy of 3, my needs look different than fellow colleagues but I thrive with that reciprocal respect& trust. Sometimes I choose to work five days.
How is it running?
Daniel asked: What’s better than you expected? What’s worse than you expected? Better: The extra day builds in reflection time that we often don’t make room for, where many of us solve problems. So in many ways, we do more meaningful project. Harder: Purpose becomes even more important. We need to feel driven to do great work in the precious 4 days we have.Purpose on an org level or individual level? Both. Especially with the past year we’ve had. The real sorcery is when org purpose feels intertwined with a personal sense of purpose, something worthy to go after that can really make a difference. If org purpose feels like it provides culture, individual purpose typically follows.Jesse requested: Are people get as much done? Do you have hourly personnel? We have no hourly faculty, which is important. This isn’t less hours for less salary, it’s less hours for the same pay. In terms of productivity, that’s hard to measure in this wild past time we’ve had. But, things look promising. Philosophically, I believe we can get as much done.Awesome. Are people happier and more excited to come to work? Boost in moral? Did you see it level off? Yes, to all of that! You nailed it. We’ve not felt it level off yet, there’s still a ton of gratitude for the 4-day workweeks 9+ months in.Andre-Paul requested: What are the biggest varies you’ve noticed within your crew? Any brand-new routines/ behaviours/ process? Well, there’s emphatically a brand-new degree of gratitude. We’re here, trying out this wild brand-new thing, and gaining this extra day for family or ourselves. It’s awesome. And with that, a sense of alongside gaining flexibility, devoting flexibility too.What I necessitate by gaining flexible and presenting flexibility is, especially as a global crew, we need to be open to meetings formerly in a while earlier in a morning or late at night, to construct everything happen. Specially with a 4-day workweek.So, a renewed appreciation of, we’re lucky to have this extra freedom but let’s be smart-alecky about how we work in order to build 4-day workweeks genuinely work for us as a company and for customers, if we are to be able prevent having them.Ali asked: Has the rate of burnout gone down? It’s hard to measure, but I believe perfectly, it has. Or rather, 2020 was a year that drove much more burnout than most times and we decreased the amount in part through implementing the 4-day workweek.Michelle asked: I can always find more to do. Are people self-disciplined enough to really take Friday off and are people good enough at knowing how much they can really get done in a week or do they specify goals that are too lofty and usually end up working Fridays? Great question. I think it’s somewhere in the middle. I genuinely thing most people now take Fridays off. But, we still have large-hearted aspirations as a company and so formerly in a while we need to work a Friday. The real magical is when the Friday off helps you actually get more done.Luthfur questioned: How are you quantifying productivity? Put another way, how do you intend to make the decision on whether this is going well or not. Ultimately, the authorities concerned will induce our decision based on whether we achieve our aim as a company. I basically belief though, that the 5-day workweek is a relic of the industrial period and not necessarily the most effective way to work. So I believe we can achieve our aim in 4DWWs. One of the benefits “were having”, is that investors do not control our corporation. We can take longer term postures and decisions, that we belief will be translated into great outcomes in time .– If you or your squad are trying a 4-day task week send me a tweet to share how it’s going for you, I’d love to hear about it!
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