By Clay Parker Jones, Managing Director, Black Glass
This summer at Black Glass, we’re piloting a four-day workweek.
We have an extraordinarily productive, mature team, and we’re actively building the future of work inside our business. With four-day workweeks steadily becoming “a thing,” we wanted to know if it’s possible and if so, how to pull it off gracefully.
Here are the four reasons we decided to put the four-day trend to the test:
1. Because it’s good to try things
Especially when it comes to improving working conditions. The five-day, 40-hour workweek was protected by law 84 years ago after progressive organizations and labor unions fought to safeguard workers’ rights. Given the leverage afforded by technology, we should be able to protect even more time for family, leisure, recuperation and ongoing education than was practical in 1938.
With that said, we don’t know how it will work. We’re a professional services business with clients that have five-day working weeks. How do these conditions mix with a shorter working week? We expect to learn a lot in this process, and we’re committed to sharing what we learn with anyone who will listen (or read).
2. To push ourselves to be more efficient with our time
Even as a business that has no physical office and that operates relatively asynchronously (meaning we aren’t on Zoom calls with each other all day long), there’s still room to be more efficient with our shared time. A four-day week is a good forcing function for that.
Could that meeting be an email? Could a long status update be a quick voice message? Can we document more, and manage our knowledge better, so that more questions can be found by searching, rather than meeting?
We think that when we’re more efficient with our time, the hours we spend not working will make our working hours even more effective. We’re hoping that we’ll be happier, smarter, better read, calmer, all of it. But we’ll see!
3. To emphasize the idea that impact isn’t the same as time spent
One of our core values is impact even at the expense of our scope of work. This value tells us that helping our clients transform for the better is more important than making a fancy .PPTX document. Instead, maybe just go help your client do their work in a new and better way.
And yet, work still expands to fill the time allotted. We think we can build a thriving business while spending less time, and that we can work even more fully with four days a week than we could with five.
4. We may be advising clients to do the same
Our clients often come to us with questions about how to prepare for the future of work, retain talent, inspire collaboration and creativity, combat burnout and streamline operations. And the four-day workweek is a potential tactic that has already come up as a part of these discussions.
But how can we recommend something we’ve never done before? And where better to test the efficacy of this idea than within our own organization?
Watch this space
We’ll be taking note of what works (and what doesn’t) throughout the summer and are excited to share what we’re learning along the way. Stay tuned!