This month on our blog we are talking a lot about reducing stress and burnout. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on how to carve out more time for yourself in 2022 and beyond. The Roundtable piloted our 4-day workweek in April during our busiest business period. Here are my top 5 takeaways:
- Meetings are more efficient.
- It’s a mental health game changer.
- Your clients will applaud you.
- You need to be intentional.
- Think results not time.
The first thing we did as a team was figure out how to make a 5 over 4 day work and the biggest opportunity was to look at our meetings. We managed to cut the majority of our meeting time down to 50% or less and introduced Slack as a way to keep just in time updates and general water cooler conversations flowing. Big win.
We opted to work Tuesday to Friday and have Monday off. Why not Friday? After talking to other owners who designated Fridays off, and doing research on what worked best, Mondays were optimal. It’s easy for Friday to become your overflow day and use it to catch up on things that piled up during the week. Our team has found that by having Monday off, you may put in some extra time to push things off your plate on Friday but it’s less likely that you’ll work on Mondays. This permanent long weekend has been a game changer for our team in terms of freedom, ability to have some thinking time and – frankly – get an extra day that’s not filled with household and family commitments.
We were all concerned about how our clients would feel about not having access to us on Mondays. We have been overwhelmed by their support and encouragement. We even had clients call us out to maintain our boundaries. We did set up an emergency email that members of our team periodically check on Mondays. We had one email in 3 months. We will continue to have this in place going forward as part of our client service standard.
One of the concerns we had moving to 4 days and tightening up our meetings was the risk of losing personal connection and camaraderie. As a team, we agreed to come in to our office in person for our monthly ops meetings and have team lunches together. Our senior team members also make a point to go to the office a few times a week to continue to build those personal connections and bonds which is key for our group. Throughout our pilot we did checkins to see what was working and improved processes as a group to make sure we were adapting together.
Results Not Time
We are operating 100/80/100 which means 100% pay over 80% of the time for 100% results. As we started the pilot, we agreed as a team that if the results weren’t being sustained, we would move back to 5 days. At The Roundtable, we have always run a Results Only Work Environment (shout out to Jody Thompson). Now we’re just doing it over 4 days not 5. This requires real clarity on deliverables and a shift in mindset from the time boundaries of 9 to 5.
Final thoughts? A four-day work week is sustainable and the benefits to our team, work life and home life have been innumerable. For any other companies considering taking the leap, do it… but be intentional and have a clear strategy going into your own pilot.