“All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.” – Max McKeown

One of the knock-on effects of the current pandemic is the increased necessity and tolerance for adaptation – in every area of life. We are all being called upon to reassess our previous ‘normalities’ and make changes in order to move forward successfully.

The four-day workweek has emerged as an interesting concept of consideration for organisations striving to meet the need that has arisen for more flexible work options. 

This is explored by Ashley Williams and Charlotte Lockhart in A Guide to Implementing the 4-Day Workweek. If implemented effectively, research suggests that it can be beneficial to the overall well being of both employees and employers and that productivity should not be impacted as a result of working less hours. The benefits therefore seem sure to justify the efforts required. 

In their guide, the six steps advocated for successful implementation are as follows:

  • 1. Mindset Shift

It is critical for the mindsets of leaders to shift to emphasise the value of productivity over and above working hours. This should be implemented as a company policy and as such, modelled from above so as to ensure that employees feel encouraged to adopt the change to a healthier work-life balance. Leaders also need to acknowledge the necessary uncertainty of problem solving through trial and error as opposed to holding back at the outset to try and get the guesswork right.

  • 2. Define Goals and Metrics

Employees as well as leaders should be actively involved in goal setting and decisions around the measuring of success in relation to these goals.

  • 3. Communicate Internally and Externally

Leaders need to be proactive in implementing an effective communication plan, which addresses any concerns that may arise both internally and externally. Internally, it is vital to ensure employees peace of mind, especially around job security, and to encourage discussions on how best to get things done.

  • 4. Run a Pilot

The goal of this should be to address problems as they come up and to identify the tools and processes required to iron them out. It is essential to create a safe space for employees in which they can ask questions and to support and trust them in the readjustment process.

  • 5. Assess the Pilot

When it comes to assessing results, there are plenty of resources, reports and case studies to draw from. It may also be worth partnering with a specialist if assistance is required.

  • 6. Scale Up – but Don’t Stop Iterating

Unique challenges will be encountered by each organisation and allowance should be made for the reiteration and ongoing experimentation that will inevitably accompany the implementation process.

Is this an adaptation that may help your organisation to thrive?