In Might, our total group experimented with a 4-day workweek. The intention of this experiment was to assist us all handle the stress and adjustments to routine brought on by dwelling by means of a global pandemic.

We initially rolled out the 4-day work week experiment for just one month, with the primary purpose of lowering teammates’ stress. Fortunately, each survey outcomes and anecdotal tales inform us that this was successful.

After inspecting survey knowledge and anecdotal suggestions and chatting with the group, we’ve determined to conduct a long-term pilot of the 4-day workweek by means of the top of the 12 months. Right here’s extra on how we got here to that call and our subsequent steps.

The outcomes from our 4-day workweek experiment

Our essential purpose with this experiment was to assist the group handle stress and adjustments to their routine brought on by COVID-19. To measure whether or not this effort was profitable, we polled the group originally and finish of the month and requested about their autonomy, stress stage, and total work happiness.

Listed below are the outcomes from our group surveys exhibiting variations between early Might and late Might:

  • We noticed greater autonomy: 4.3 → 4.5
  • We noticed decrease stress ranges: 3.3 → 2.7
  • We noticed greater work happiness: 3.9 → 4.2

*These numbers are all out of 5.

These outcomes are solely a part of the image. We additionally requested teammates for written suggestions and anecdotal tales about their expertise. We obtained numerous each that supported these outcomes. One teammate shared that they felt this experiment was serving to them really feel targeted:

This final month has been unbelievable on the subject of discovering extra time to take care of myself. I really feel much more productive on the subject of the work I do and the creeping feeling of burnout in direction of the top of the week has gone fully. If something I discover myself extra targeted than I’ve ever been.

And one other shared emotions of motivation and extra collaboration:

Basic sense is that everybody has been feeling extra motivated, energised and excited concerning the work we’re doing. We’ve additionally had extra “ad-hoc enhancements” with folx leaping in so as to add extra monitoring, refactoring and bettering our providers. There was additionally extra cross-team collaboration and extra async exercise on Threads and Slack.

It wasn’t fully clean for all teammates, after all. We additionally heard just a few challenges:

Because the greatest confusion to me was attempting to recollect/juggle who was off when, it could be nice if we might resolve on a selected day that all of us take off.

One other problem was round holidays (extra on that under):

On account of a whole lot of public holidays throughout Might, it meant that week to week it could usually change as to who was taking what break day.  Folx appreciated having some flexibility in what day to take off, however it did lead to a whole lot of deviations from the deliberate Wednesday off.

As a result of the 4-day workweek experiment was designed to offer non permanent aid to teammates throughout an particularly laborious time, we didn’t set targets round productiveness or outcomes in the course of the one-month trial. In reality, we anticipated a tangible drop in productiveness on account of diminished hours.

So we had been fortunately stunned when many teammates shared that they felt their weekly productiveness was not all that completely different, and that their high quality of labor was greater on account of elevated relaxation and further focus.

The one distinctive case right here was our Buyer Advocacy group. As a result of their type of labor is closely based mostly on responding to buyer queries, they might be an exception to the concept that fewer hours might lead to related productiveness. Our VP of Buyer Advocacy is main separate discussions with this group round productiveness and wellbeing in a 4-day mannequin to see how they’ll make this shift work longer-term.

Why we selected a 6-month pilot

Based mostly on the outcomes of the trial, we determined to begin a extra thorough pilot of a 4-day work week that focuses not simply on teammate well-being but additionally on Buffer’s long-term success.

As an organization we have now a historical past of daring experiments, like being 100% distributed, having transparent salaries, and attempting self-management. When testing out these new and daring concepts, we ask ourselves whether or not we’re in a position to set and attain formidable targets, ship a high-quality expertise for patrons, develop our income, and make our mark on the world.

A few of these large experiments, like clear salaries and distant work, have been successful as a result of the reply to these questions was a convincing sure. For others, like self-management, the reply was no, and so we pivoted away from the experiment.

We’d like to noticeably contemplate transferring to a 4-day work week long run, so shifting to a 6-month pilot provides our group sufficient time to really adapt to the idea so we will get extra knowledge on how this impacts group productiveness and well-being within the long-term.

Subsequent steps for this pilot

As a way to really consider whether or not a 4-day work week could be a success long-term, we have to measure productiveness in addition to particular person well-being. Teammate well-being was our finish purpose for Might. Whether or not that continues, and equally importantly, whether or not it interprets into buyer and firm outcomes, will probably be an thrilling speculation to check.

We’re additionally eager to iterate on our present format and develop a extra constant method. For the previous six weeks, the 4-day idea has been applied in another way throughout groups and even people. Some groups took Wednesdays off and a few took Fridays or Mondays off. This was nice for a short while, however on this longer experiment will seemingly really feel a bit chaotic. We’ll be asking our teammates to assist us outline what a reduced-hours workweek seems to be like throughout a distributed group.

We additionally nonetheless have a number of parts to determine.

  • In our preliminary iteration of the experiment, we didn’t account nicely for holidays. We ultimately determined that if a vacation already makes it a 4-day workweek, then the remainder of that week could be thought-about a traditional week. We’ve since heard that this may very well be disruptive for teammates. Some groups had Wednesdays off but when there was a vacation on a Monday that they had a Monday off as a substitute. We aren’t certain but what our resolution will probably be to this long run, and it’s one thing we’re eager to determine.
  • We additionally want to determine how a 4-day workweek could be a success for our Buyer Advocacy group. As a lot of their work revolves round interacting with prospects and resolving tickets, taking extra days off has impacted each their productiveness and the amount in our customer support inboxes.

Now we have an all-hands meeting on the finish of this month the place we’ll host breakout periods asking teammates to assist brainstorm how we will make the 4-day work week profitable long-term, with a selected lens for what the Advocacy group is experiencing.

That is only the start of a enjoyable new journey for us. We’re excited to share what’s subsequent and what we be taught as we take a look at the boundaries of how work occurs.