Some companies think that allowing employees to choose where they work or when they work will lead to a loss of productivity. Do you think a flexible workweek will lead to a loss of productivity?
We don’t think so. In this post, we will help you implement a flexible workweek policy while maintaining or improving productivity. First, let’s take a look at what it really means when we use the term ‘flexible workweek’.
Defining a flexible work week
Work flexibility refers to practices of giving employees the freedom to decide when, where, and how long they want to work. This approach allows employees to get the work done at their own pace while aligning their work-life with their personal or family needs. Here are some of the key features of a flexible workweek:
Organizations are thinking about having a 4-day week where employees work 32 rather than 40 hours per week. There has been an ongoing debate on the efficacy of the four-day week in the media. Research suggests that reducing work hours improves employees’ well-being without having any impact on productivity. However, it’s important to implement this strategy the right way. Developing a step-by-step guide will help you implement a flexible workweek.
Another great way to incorporate a flexible workweek is to allow your employees to work remotely. We know how remote work has gained popularity amid the Covid pandemic. As an employer, you need to take a fresh look at what we can do better and implement effective remote strategies.
When it comes to flexible work schedules, companies often fail to wrap their head around the idea of allowing employees to have some freedom. In fact, many companies still believe remote work is an untenable way to get things done even after going through a global pandemic.
From a workers’ standpoint, the demand for remote work is on the rise across industries as they feel more empowered and productive than they did before. People are willing to quit or change their careers when companies force them to resume work from the office. Pushing your people to the point where they start thinking about quitting is a shortsighted mistake with long-term consequences.
You can’t lose your talented workers by having a rigid work policy. So, engage your employees and talk to them about their preferences. Moving forward into the future, you need to intentionally implement remote work policies to retain your employees. All you have to do is use collaboration tools and workflows
Let’s talk more about the 4-day week and how you can implement it without losing productivity!
Incorporating the 4-day workweek
If adjusting work hours is possible for your business, here are some recommendations you can apply to make it work:
Shift your mindset
We are likely to focus on quantifiable things like hours worked rather than qualitative metrics such as well-being and productivity. This is why companies use the time at the office to measure employees’ commitment to work even when those measures tell nothing about the real value added to the business.
To make a four-day workweek reality, you need to shift your mindset and focus more on actual productivity. It could lead your employees to have a healthier work-life balance without worrying about penalties for having some flexibility. A four-day workweek, thus, should be implemented as a companywide policy rather than an optional perk.
Define your goals and metrics
You should embrace the uncertainty attached to experimenting with anything new. Therefore, when implementing a four-day week, be ready to go through a trial and error stage. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan anything. Have a well-thought-out plan to deal with new challenges.
Both business leaders and employees should be actively involved in the process to make important decisions. It would be a good idea to form a committee to figure out a perfect reduced-hours program. An employee-driven committee can meet for an hour each day to identify potential challenges and propose solutions before launching the four-week workweek initiative. Here are some questions you need to ask:
- What steps can we take to boost productivity?
- How will you measure productivity?
- What kind of support will your employees need to make this initiative a success?
- Is there any legal concern we should be aware of?
Have a communication plan
Make sure you address the concerns of your internal and external stakeholders in a proactive fashion. Internal concerns could include how the change will impact your workforce. Make sure you clearly outline why you want to have the four-day workweek. Communicate with your employees that they will receive the same benefits without any cut.
Reducing interruptions and eliminating operational inefficiencies can make it possible for you to have a successful four-day workweek program. Besides, the pandemic has taught workers how to be more efficient and deliberate in scheduling collaboration time.
Run and access the initiative
When you run a pilot, don’t expect everything to work from the start. You’ll be able to identify the tools and technologies you need to make a four-day workweek work. Issues you face during the pilot stage should not be considered a failure. Work hard to fine-tune your plan continuously.
You can use both qualitative and quantitative metrics to understand the outcome of your initiative. So far as qualitative metrics are concerned, conduct group interviews to gain valuable insights. Ask your employees to explain their experience with the four-day workweek. If your employees are taking fewer sick days during the pilot, it simply means they felt less stressed.
We understand that different workers are more productive and focused at different times of the day. So, instead of worrying too much about the number of hours worked, focus on results, deadlines, and the well-being of your employees.