4-Day Work Weeks: Results From 2020 and Our Plan for 2021

What our internal surveys have actually told us about a four-day work weekThe four-day work week resulted in sustained performance levels and a much better sense of work-life balance. Heres how we assessed our six-month pilot program and why we chose to continue running on a four-day work week.Starting in May of 2020, I measured the following: output based on area due dates and goalsteammates individual autonomystress levelsgeneral work happinessHeres a bit more about how each of those measurements has gone.Our output throughout a four-day work weekIn our May trial, we saw that teammates felt extremely as efficient or more efficient on a four-day work week as they did on a five-day work week. Everybody is still expected to get their work done.While as a company we initially adjusted due dates to aspect in the four-day work week and the unique situation of the pandemic, weve because moved forward with establishing ambitious objectives for the coming year and recognize that this will likely press the limitations of the way weve been operating in a four-day work week and require us to keep adjusting to this brand-new way of work. Because our Customer Advocates do not have as much project-based work as other functions, we have particular targets to fulfill: Customer Advocacy 4DWW Strategy 2021Goal: Successfully work four-day workweeks as a group whilst delivering an above the bar client service experience clients rave about.Measurement: Team members are anticipated to achieve their ticket targets each week (number of tickets responded to based on level + individual commitment/goal agreed upon with lead) as well as average 2.8 ACE score on tickets and/or team members working outside of the inbox will be expected to total projects, struck due dates, and accomplish key results.Well continue to iterate and craft on methods to both serve our consumers well and offer flexible work weeks to our teammates.Looking aheadI will continue with periodic surveys around group efficiency, personal stress levels, autonomy, and happiness. Buffer is likewise diving back into using OKRs as a tool to track our productivity and development, which will provide us another determining stick to use in the overall assessment of our four-day work weeks.We arent sure that well continue with the four-day work weeks forever, but for now, were going to stick with it as long as we are still able to strike our enthusiastic goals.Want to keep talking about the four-day work week?

In March and April of 2020, work and life as we understood it was altering. I surveyed our group members (all 84 of whom are expanded across the globe) to understand the very best way to help them manage numerous things shifting at once.I specifically wanted to hear from parents about what could help them as lots of schools were shutting down and partners or partners were likewise needed to work from house. The results? Most people desired more time to make it through the new difficulties they faced. As a remote organization, we currently provide a lot of versatility to our employees, and its one of the many benefits of remote work. The perfect option for us at the time was to both lean into flexibility and provide more time at the same time, which is when we began thinking about a four-day work week. The idea of a 4-day work week acquired a lot of traction in early 2020 as many companies saw much better flexibility and thus happier employees when moving from five eight-hour days to 4. Microsoft trialed this in Japan and saw a 40% boost in performance, and Unilever New Zealand likewise rolled out 32-hour work weeks.Given the stress, shutdowns, and unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was likewise touted as a valuable way to address childcare, quarantines, and other things. The combined study of our colleagues and increasing global proof that the four-day work week might be a great option is what spawned our one-month trial. After that trial, we saw that not just had joy and stress enhanced, but efficiency had not dipped. We went with a 6-month trial to verify if this was a sustainable practice, and it was. Now, were continuing four-day work weeks for the foreseeable future. Heres a take a look at some of what weve gained from surveying our group about the four-day work week throughout our 2 trials. What our internal surveys have actually informed us about a four-day work weekThe four-day work week led to continual efficiency levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the precise outcomes we d intended to see, and they helped us challenge the concept that we need to work the normal nine-to-five, five days a week. Its worth noting that though weve seen sustained efficiency levels, weve been assessing that based on colleague feedback and not company-wide objectives, that is altering in 2021. As we reflected on the impact of working a company-wide four-day work week in the majority of 2020, we decided to press forward with this design into 2021, with a couple of clarifications and exceptions. Heres how we assessed our six-month pilot program and why we chose to continue operating on a four-day work week.Starting in May of 2020, I determined the following: output based upon location due dates and goalsteammates private autonomystress levelsgeneral work happinessHeres a bit more about how each of those measurements has gone.Our output during a four-day work weekIn our May trial, we saw that colleagues felt overwhelmingly as efficient or more productive on a four-day work week as they did on a five-day work week. That was just the one-month trial, so it could be simple to neglect, but we saw the pattern emerge in our six-month trial. Nearly 34 percent felt more productive than when we had a five-day work week, almost 60 percent felt similarly as efficient, and less than seven percent felt less productive.While teammates reported feeling more productive, I likewise talked to managers. I assembled the information from our supervisors around group output to help develop if the information matched the colleagues sensations and what my recommendation would be for going into 2021. For our Engineering teams, the number of overall coding days went down. We saw substantial increases in output. Our Engineering Manager, Ivana, shared: “Weekly coding days went from 3.4 to 2.7 for product groups, and from 3.2 to 2.9 for Mobile and Infrastructure, while the efficient effect increased significantly for product groups and doubled for Infrastructure and Mobile!” Many of the supervisors I talked to echoed Ivanas feelings of seeing an increase in output. The exception to these lead to performance was our consumer advocacy group. We had a more difficult time maintaining productivity levels, which was to be expected due to the fact that this function is distinct in its unpredictability of volume. Anecdotally, our advocates still pointed out sensation they were about 85 to 90 percent as productive as they had been during five-day weeks outside of the customer inbox, i.e., on other jobs. However, consumers did wait a bit longer to get a preliminary reply to their emails.As was mentioned earlier, we were asking colleagues and supervisors to gauge total efficiency and not determining it for ourselves based upon company-wide goals. That is changing in 2021 as weve set down more specific company objectives, so we will have the ability to see how well we accomplish our goals each quarter, and it will be another crucial measure of the success of the four-day work week. Specific autonomyReported autonomy and versatility in May of 2020 was at 4.3 out of 5, with 5 being “total autonomy.” This increased to 4.7 by the end of our six-month pilot: Reiterating that our teammates have control over their schedule has been an essential goal of the four-day workweek. Tension levelsOur stress levels in May 2020 (when we initially launched the experiment) was 3.3 out of 5, with 5 being high tension. Documented tension dipped down to 2.7 at our June survey, and then only a little approximately 2.9 at our October survey.General work happinessOur overall happiness pattern for the entire business remained consistent, and offered the volatility of the events of 2020, I felt this was a great trend. Our exact quarterly numbers were: Jan: 4.1/ 5April: 3.8/ 5July: 3.8/ 5Sept: 3.7/ 5How were continuing the 4-day work week into 2021Given that the data was mostly favorable for a four-day work week, weve chosen to continue this practice into 2021. Throughout the year, Ill continue to keep an eye on efficiency and group engagement through our quarterly surveys to ensure that the four-day work week is ultimately helping Buffers business needs. Our standards for our four-day work week in 2021: We adjusted a couple of things based on our experience in 2020. Heres what I sent to our group about our guidelines for the four-day work week: Well continue with: No meetings or expectation of communicating on Slack on Fridays.Fridays as a default day off for the majority of areas.Customer Advocates workweeks will look various due to the nature of the role. More interaction will follow on schedules and expectations.Further defining weekly output expectations at the location and department level.Clarifying performance standings. Colleagues who are not satisfying their goals might pick or be asked to work 5 days.Evaluating this schedule at least quarterly on the basis of total team efficiency, hitting OKRs, teammate tension levels and feeling ownership of your work schedule.We will continue to repeat that while this is an unique benefit, we as a company must meet our cumulative deadlines. Some work weeks might need that Friday as an overflow work day to finish up what weve committed to do. Everybody is still anticipated to get their work done.While as a business we initially adjusted deadlines to factor in the four-day work week and the distinct situation of the pandemic, weve given that moved forward with developing ambitious objectives for the coming year and acknowledge that this will likely press the limitations of the way weve been operating in a four-day work week and require us to keep adapting to this new method of work. Personally, I understand every teammate at Buffer is capable and up to the obstacle. Due To The Fact That our Customer Advocates dont have as much project-based work as other roles, we have specific targets to satisfy: Customer Advocacy 4DWW Strategy 2021Goal: Successfully work four-day workweeks as a group whilst delivering an above the bar client service experience consumers rave about.Measurement: Team members are expected to accomplish their ticket targets weekly (variety of tickets responded to based on level + individual commitment/goal agreed upon with lead) along with typical 2.8 ACE rating on tickets and/or team members working outside of the inbox will be expected to total projects, hit deadlines, and accomplish key results.Well continue to iterate and craft on methods to both serve our clients well and offer flexible work weeks to our teammates.Looking aheadI will continue with routine studies around group performance, individual stress levels, autonomy, and happiness. Buffer is also diving back into utilizing OKRs as a tool to track our efficiency and progression, which will give us another determining stay with utilize in the general examination of our four-day work weeks.We arent sure that well continue with the four-day work weeks permanently, but for now, were going to stick with it as long as we are still able to strike our ambitious goals.Want to keep discussing the four-day work week? Connect on Twitter and use the hashtag #BufferCommunity.

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