FAQ: The 4-Day Work Week Edition
- What is a 4-day work week?
It’s a new model of work where employees enjoy an extra day off every week. For some companies this means compressed hours on the four working days, and potentially cutting salary too. But, for Scoro, it means one day off every week, no change in hours, and no change in salary.
- Why was it important to you to do this?
Because we believe that the 4-day work week is the better and smarter way to work. We feel that the transition will be extremely motivating for the entire team to significantly improve productivity and we know we have all the necessary resources for making it happen. We are sure this will become a norm in the future of work. We want to throw open the lid on 4-day work weeks by providing valuable free resources for other companies that want to do the same but aren’t sure how.
- How do you support customers who work five days a week?
Our customers are not affected, and our support staff are still available five days a week as they work in rotation, so everyone will still be able to enjoy 3-day weekends. Some weeks they will get Monday off, and others they will get Friday off. Also, we have made a number of additional hires to ensure we can keep improving our customer support speed and quality.
- What are the major 4-day work week approaches companies take?
Compressed hours – same amount of hours are divided between one less working day. That results in longer working days and an additional day off.
Reduced salary – everybody keeps working the same hours per day, but the additional free day is not paid for and therefore deducted from the salary. That results in a smaller salary, usually about 80% of the previous salary.
A true 4-day week – no changes in salary or longer work days. One less working day a week is compensated by improving efficiency of work by conscious ways of communication, better planning and automating tasks that are time-consuming or don’t add value.
- Which approach has Scoro taken?
Scoro has taken the latter approach – no change in salaries or longer work days. We are sure we can achieve the same if not more with better planning and preparation.
- Why did Scoro choose that approach?
Because we believe it’s the right way forward. We also have the data and toolset to back up our decision. We know that Fridays are already 20% less productive on average, so it makes sense to optimize the time in the other four days, and omit the need for a fifth.
- What has employee sentiment been towards the change?
Scorers (that’s what we call our people) have been involved since the beginning. At the end of 2021, we conducted a thorough survey of employees. We received feedback on the current work practices and also found out which changes the team members would prefer. After that the work towards a 4-day work week began. The preparation has been very thorough and we’ve seen how it motivates the team, it’s already had a hugely positive impact.
- How did you convince your board and shareholders?
We believe in the benefits the 4-day work week will bring to our organization, so we have ensured our shareholders see the value too. What better way could there be to prove that our software, and how we use it, really works. The first step was to present the metrics for the “before and after” with clear and measurable results. We forecasted the potential increase in employee retention, brand awareness, and the effect on job applicants and lead flow. Then, we presented a plan of concrete productivity improvements to offset the reduction in working hours. This way, we removed a big part of the fear that can largely be based on emotions, and it became a pure business decision.
- What improvements in internal communication have you done to stay efficient with less time on your hands?
We mapped the main interruptions and behaviors that caused unnecessary communication and hence, disruption. For example, one of the action items is creating a knowledge management framework to make sure people don’t disturb each other just because information is not easy to find.We also set clear guidelines on how to choose the right means of communication. We hope that these changes will reduce interruptions and increase focus time.
- Are you going to measure how it will impact teams’ performance etc?
Yes. We have set metrics for all key areas – customer service, sales, marketing, product and engineering – to make sure the transition is working in our favor. We will monitor the progress as we go, but as it takes time to introduce a new concept, we have set an initial reference period of one year during which we will constantly review the changes if necessary.
- What day of the week will be “off”, or will that be the choice of each team, or employee?
Our aim is to maximize time for parallel work. This will result in shorter lead times and an overall increase in productivity. Friday was overwhelmingly the most popular option for the free day in our employee survey. Therefore, it was the obvious solution. Still, some members of staff such as system admins and customer support will work in a shift pattern between Mondays and Fridays.
- What is your secret behind keeping the productivity numbers up?
Our own work management platform is the foundation on which we have built all of the optimizations to make the 4-day work week successful. On top of this, we have seven dedicated squads that have been reinventing things like meetings, communication and time management. They continue to adjust, measure, analyze, and report on the progress of our 4-day work week.
- Would you recommend doing this from day one when starting a company?
This depends very much on the company. Of course, starting a company takes a lot of work, but having the goal of a shorter work week in mind when setting up systems, processes, and building the company culture could add much value. Having said that, this setup might not be ideal for everyone, so it’s important to find what works best considering all other factors such as industry and competition.
- Will Thursday become the new Friday?
As one of our goals is to improve the quality of time tracking and increase time tracked in detail to 90% of working hours (+8% compared to now), we will have a good overview of Thursdays to ensure they don’t become the new Fridays in the sense of work productivity. Also, there is not as much social pressure on Thursdays compared to Fridays and as the weekends will now be 50% longer, our team will have a chance to rest and wind down even if Saturday and Sunday are packed with activities.