Why flexible Friday’s may just be the next natural step for forward thinking brands with 4 day work weeks.
There are currently three big work themes:
- The Great Resignation
- Hybrid Work (vs remote work vs forced return back to the office)
- The potential move to 4 day work weeks
None of these has easy answers or is easily addressed without intentional and deliberate planning and critically smart testing.
The great resignation is an important moving theme, the US is experiencing huge shifts of employees leaving their roles. In the UK and EU there are bigger challenges to actually fill open roles. Many candidates are experiencing recruiter ghosting at a record rate.
Move to Hybrid? With the ‘forced working from home experiment we have all experienced over the last 18 months, hybrid work is one of the easier themes to test and roll out.
The 4 day work week is picking up momentum, many companies believe with smart planning and fewer meetings there will be opportunities to reduce work from five to four day work weeks.
With all of these themes, trust and proximity bias are driving forces for companies defaulting to the old ways of working.
Front is doing it differently, smartly addressing pain points. Front is a communication platform that enables teams and customers to feel more connected through shared inboxes.
Recently Front tested and reviewed their approach on four day work week. They dubbed it Flexible Friday’s.
What Is Flexible Friday’s?
Rather than enforcing four day work weeks, they enabled Friday’s to be flexible, offering the employees a choice between:
(a) if you would like to work – designed for deepwork
(b) if you would like to spend time with your family
(c) a blend of both.
The results (listed below) are not surprising, if anything they show why six months tests are smart testing periods and highlight why working through and optimisation is so important in workplace management and organisational design.
Front’s full blog post is a genuine must-read for business leaders and HR heads, here are my highlights:
- Patience – it’s going to be tough going and a big shift for all employees, for the most junior and to the most senior.
- Coverage – help teams to be successful and enable communciation and sharing of the most important information. Internal communication is something that requires delibarate design and guiding principles.
- For The Long Term – this move was for long term retention not just to address the short term issues. Flexible hours and 4 day work weeks have to designed and have an agreed understanding it could cause issues earlier in the test.
- 4 vs 5 – 4 day work stress is the same or worse as 5 days if you do not help teams adapt and know they can be flexible and successful. Something that many businesses are failing with is cramming the same number of meetings into fewer days and it is causing no time for deepwork.
- Positive Impact Surveys – By leveraging feedback and surveys there were two positive feedback loops that enabled Front to offer Flexible Friday’s and want to continue the experiement.
If you are looking to trial Flexible Friday’s, or remove meetings to help with burnout and workload’s it is essential you:
- List all existing issues, pain points and concerns
- Have a plan with guidelines and how to be successful
- Agree on behaviours that are accepted and allows the business to understand how you are doing right and a good job
- Communicate the work flow and cadence – colleagues should know if you are working or not. Simple accountability and easy tracking of who is working and who is not is essential
- If employees need to be in a location or an office
Below is the full LinkedIn Update from their CEO Mathilde Collin (link to the LinkedIn post)
We’re rethinking the work week at Front.
For now 2 quarters we’ve been experimenting with Flexible Fridays, a dedicated day where there is no expectation to respond to messages and no scheduled meetings.
How is this different from a 4 day work week? Flexible Fridays gives everyone the option of a day of deep, uninterrupted focus or a day they could take for themselves. It’s our happy medium between ensuring our business and service to customers was not disrupted while promoting a healthier work/life balance for Fronteers.
Here are some of the results from our experiment so far:
- In our survey, 89% of Fronteers say they work happier because of Flexible Fridays.
- 95% of Fronteers say Flexible Fridays have had no impact on collaboration with their colleagues.
- And the stat I’m most proud of: 87% of Fronteers say Flexible Fridays have positively impacted their desire to work at Front for the next two years.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive response, success with our experiment wasn’t instant. It took some patience and adjustments to get this model to work. But I’m loving the feedback we’re seeing and count this as a success for our team now. I wanted to share these results for others to see the benefit increased flexibility can have for teams. If you decide to try this for your team, let me know how it goes. I’m excited to continue experimenting with what ‘work happier’ truly means for our team and beyond.
Read About The Other Companies Attempting To Design Work Differently