Once we experimented with a four-day workweek it was initially for one month. As our CEO, Joel Gascoigne, wrote about in Might 2020 after we first began the experiment, “This 4-day workweek interval is about well-being, psychological well being, and putting us as people and our households first.”
On the finish of Might, whereas we had been accumulating the info on how the experiment went, we continued working a four-day workweek. In June, after we noticed that the outcomes had been general good for us, we shifted to a four-day workweek for the remainder of 2020. Our staff was shocked by these outcomes, having anticipated naturally diminished productiveness with fewer workdays. On the time, our Chief of Workers, Carolyn Kopprasch, wrote:
“For the reason that intention was to provide non permanent aid from typical expectations to teammates throughout an particularly onerous and unprecedented time, we didn’t set objectives round productiveness or outcomes. The truth is, we anticipated a tangible drop in productiveness attributable to diminished hours.
Nevertheless, attributable to elevated relaxation and reflection, a lot of you’ve got shared that you simply felt your weekly productiveness was in truth not all that completely different, and that your high quality of labor was greater whereas experiencing improved general wellbeing.”
Ultimately, we shifted to a four-day workweek for the foreseeable future on the finish of 2020.
Now, we’re three months away from having operated by a four-day workweek for 2 years. We just lately ran an inner survey to verify in with the Buffer staff on what number of days they’re working, in the event that they really feel happier and extra productive, and at last, if they can get the work required of them accomplished in 4 days.
Listed here are the outcomes:
91% of our staff are happier and extra productive working 4 days every week
This can be a nice piece of knowledge for us — 91 % of our teammates both agree or strongly agree that they’re happier and extra productive now that they work a four-day workweek, as for the remaining 9 %, on the size all of them chosen “impartial.”
This was our hope after we first began out experimenting with a four-day workweek and we’re thrilled that that is nonetheless the impression almost two years later.
Most of our staff is barely working 4 days every week
Some of the frequent questions we get is that if we’re actually solely working 4 days every week, and now we’ve got the info to confidently say — sure, most of our staff are solely working 4 days every week, or they select to work 5 shorter days, which is an choice a number of mother and father felt higher suited their households.
In our most up-to-date survey, 73 % of Buffer teammates are solely working a four-day workweek (or 5 shorter days which is an choice). The remaining 27 % mentioned they’re working greater than 4 days, mostly individuals work 4 and a half days and use Fridays to make amends for duties. On Fridays we don’t schedule conferences and no communication by way of e mail, Slack, or Threads is predicted of our staff. Some individuals do select to make use of it as an “overflow” day and that’s one thing we help as a company assuming this doesn’t flip into overworking.
84% of our staff are capable of get all of their work completed in 4 days every week
Lastly, we additionally needed to know if teammates really feel they’ll get all of their work completed in 4 days every week, and 84 % of our staff both agree or strongly agree that they can get the work required of them accomplished in 4 days.
This has been an adjustment because it isn’t simple to instantly change the workweek, so every staff and teammate have been experimenting over these final years to regulate their work, initiatives, deadlines, and expectations to be reasonable with a four-day workweek. There’s at all times room for enchancment however we’re joyful to see this quantity as excessive as it’s proper now.
We’ve communicated to our staff that we all know altering long-standing habits and expectations from a five-day workweek will take time. In spite of everything, we’ve labored our entire careers with a five-day workweek paradigm.
So after we see responses in our survey about individuals who don’t really feel like they’ll get all of the work they should do completed in 5 days, it prompts us to query a number of key issues:
- Is the workload affordable for a 4-day work week?
- Are these cases fixed, or one-offs due to urgent deadlines or huge initiatives?
- Is there suggestions we will present to the person or staff to assist streamline or work extra effectively?
We would like the four-day workweek to use to everybody equally, and since we apply this uniquely to completely different groups (like our advocacy staff), we’re open to artistic options and re-iterating a versatile schedule.
A four-day workweek, like distant working generally, requires trusting teammates to be trustworthy about their work calls for and workloads. It’s a dialogue between supervisor and teammate and one thing we encourage our firm to proceed to iterate on.
A query that comes up lots with the four-day workweek is that if there are any surprising drawbacks or challenges.
We’ve been wrestling with one specifically: how related we really feel as a staff when you’ve got fewer hours within the workweek to permit for informal conversations and team-building actions.
In 2020, after we launched the pilot, we did deliberately cut back the variety of hangouts and informal occasions to depart room for productive work within the week. We nonetheless have one-to-two team-wide occasions every quarter equivalent to All Arms or City Halls with our Government staff and people are recorded for anybody who can’t attend.
Our engagement scores have decreased from the start of 2021, which is one thing tied to many, many elements together with staff turnover, product course, and exterior influences. One factor that has been highlighted in our surveys is the discount in team-building occasions equivalent to Zoom hangouts, visitor audio system, and in-person occasions equivalent to our retreat.
For 2022, we’re diving again into extra intentional team-building each asynchronously, synchronously, and the occasional in-person meetup the place obtainable.
We nonetheless need to keep a steadiness of productive work throughout our 32-hour workweek, but additionally have some purposeful occasions which might be a part of the bigger constructing block of staff connectedness.
We’ll observe up with future blogs about issues we’ve completed prior to now and initiatives we’re making an attempt for 2022!
Many firms at the moment are exploring a four-day workweek and emboldening their workers to be versatile and environment friendly of their workweeks. We’ve been requested by quite a lot of firms had been to even start about experimenting with a four-day workweek—and listed below are our greatest sources and steps to kick off a dialogue or take a look at!
- We examined it on a small scale (one month), with a number of key survey inquiries to measure success.
- We then rolled it out to a 6-month pilot trial, frequently surveying our staff and gathering goal productiveness statistics (like traces of code written, buyer satisfaction numbers, and many others.)
- We clarified and finessed how we method a four-day workweek with our buyer help staff. (We alternate days off amongst our help workers in order that we nonetheless have 24/7 in our buyer help inbox.)
- On the finish of seven months of a four-day workweek, we felt sufficient momentum and constructive response to commit to at least one extra yr of a four-day workweek, with added clarifications round using the fifth day as “overflow” and efficiency expectations for this as a perk.
- After almost two years, we’ve felt extra assured than ever in our new programs, although we’ll proceed to query, survey, and take a look at out completely different habits to work effectively and nonetheless bond as an organization. We’re nonetheless engaged on the perfect steadiness of staff engagement and occasions inside the midst of a shorter workweek.
Even nearly two years in, we nonetheless have lots to find out about working 4 days every week. We’ll proceed sharing as we go, and we’d love to listen to from you! What questions do you’ve got about working a four-day workweek? Ship us a tweet!