Future of work: An employee perspective on the four-day week pilot

From the desk of Shantel Francis, Assistant Digital Strategist: For almost any employee, the opportunity to work a 4-day week would be a hard offer to pass up – especially with no salary cut or increase in hours. No catch. But still when I share the news with others, I am often met with a level of skepticism ranging from curiosity about how we will actually make it work to cynicism that a 4-day week is just not possible.

I understand this perspective. When the news of PRAXIS piloting the 4-day week was announced to the team, I immediately had questions and even my own share of healthy skepticism. However, once the objective was clarified, I found a lot of answers to the questions I had and knew that my lingering questions would be worked through as a team. And I began to understand how this extra day off could be life changing. As a recent grad just springing into corporate life, I’ve learned first-hand how chaotic work-life balance can be and how often I wished I had more “time to myself”.

I wasn’t the only one.

What I appreciate most about PRAXIS is how often I get asked about my feelings and how I’m handling tasks. Employee wellness is a priority here and is only magnified with an opportunity for extra rest – we will inevitably be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled in our lives and work. That’s the PRAXIS ‘why’.  

I wanted to directly address some of the healthy skepticism out there by talking about some of the ways I and the PRAXIS team have been preparing for the 4-day week.

Am I ready for the 4DW? How have I been preparing?

One thing was clear from the start: in order to maintain PRAXIS’ hard-earned positive reputation and protect our brand, we must continue to maintain our standards of excellence in client service. To prepare the team for the 4DW pilot, PRAXIS has spent extra time investing in employee learning to improve productivity, and as a unit, we’ve grown together. Below are 3 ways we’ve been strengthening how we work while navigating changes essential to making a 4-day week sustainable.

Journaling for the purpose of reflecting on work habits 

To kick off prep, employees were encouraged to self-reflect, acknowledge, and journal pain points in their working day to bring them to a broader discussion about efficiency. My prominent pain points were the amount of time I spent sifting through emails, searching for files and shifting from task to task. I’ve learned great new tools to make my day more efficient in these areas.

A full week of tracking and the brainstorm sessions that followed were revealing, highlighting clear areas in need of better time management overall and ways in which we could troubleshoot these not just at an individual level but agency-wide. Our team’s commitment to smoothing this out has been a long time coming and is essential to meeting our goal of delivering the same impactful results our clients love and expect.

Internal 4DW committee 

Among the full PRAXIS team, members from each executive level have gathered and formed a 4DW committee, meeting once weekly to plan and prep for the pilot’s success. With unique and varied viewpoints in the room, we’ve addressed dozens of questions and concerns to ensure a comfortable, stable, and successful launch and execution for everyone.

Playing an active role in discussions with team members at all levels has given me the chance to ask questions directly relevant to my life and role. What happens if I want to book vacation time? How do stat holidays come into play? How are we tracking success to make sure this works and is sustainable?

While some of this will be solved as we go, I am confident that we have analyzed our work week from almost every angle and perspective and have done everything in our power to prepare ourselves and mitigate potential pitfalls.

4 Day Week Global Learning Sessions 

As part of a larger global pilot, PRAXIS employees sat in on discussions and seminars with other companies around the world also piloting the 4DW. This presented an opportunity to listen to concerns other companies had that may not have been top of mind, while also receiving useful tips from established writers, psychologists, and productivity experts.

As someone who has always believed I thrive at multitasking, my favourite session to date was hosted by Inventium, Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy. Through group exercises, I’ve learned that multitasking doesn’t even exist, and each time I switch tasks, I’m forcing my brain to pick up and let go of information. Who knew??

With the idea of task shifting instead of multitasking in mind, I started blocking off time in my calendar to execute specific tasks from start to finish and have noticed a tremendous shift in the time it takes to complete a task and also an improvement in task quality when I maintain focus on one task at a time. I’ve also learned to work on more demanding tasks when I have the most energy!

As the pilot commences in a week’s time, team PRAXIS stands proud of each meticulous step it took to make this possible. We’ve been prepping for months and are ready! Stay tuned to see how we shift the corporate narrative for happier and healthier employees.