Read our announcement of this experiment here.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
The pandemic has shifted everyone’s lives, dealing with unique and personal challenges. We worked incredibly hard in these uncertain times and most of us worked on average 10 hours per day, including Saturdays when needed. Working this much and on top of that, having to deal with personal challenges is exhausting. Overall, our team members experienced varying degrees of additional anxiety/distress (see chart 1). Read our CEO’s notes to learn more about these challenges.
In addition, when we asked our team members on what is a barrier to self and family care. Out of 45 team members, we had 43 responses to this survey of which 24% indicated that they feel guilty for taking time off, and 26% indicated that they feel too distracted/anxious to take time for self or family care (see chart 2).
When we asked the parents how Bunny Studio could help, 50% responded to a shorter workweek (see chart 3). Thereby indicating that they could use 1 extra day to attend to family-care needs.
Research by Stanford suggests that teams experience a decrease in their total output which might be related to their stress levels that consequently make an employee much less efficient. In addition, WHO has warned for a mental-health crisis and urges organizations to invest in preventive measures. Hence, we believe that it won’t do our team members nor our company any good if the stress and anxiety remain unchecked by not taking the time to recharge, both in the short- and long-term.
By experimenting with a shorter workweek, we want to manage the stress and augment our flexible working schedule. A 4-day workweek will allow our team to have additional time to attend caregiving or other responsibilities such as run errands, rest, upskill, work-out, volunteer, etc. Whatever they want and need to do to take care of their mental health and overall well-being.
What do we want to prove?
The 4-day workweek experiment will allow us to disrupt our habits, break from traditional frameworks, and put our creative brains to work to explore how we can be more efficient and innovative.
We are going to run this experiment for 8 weeks because 4 weeks is simply too short to draw definite conclusions. Whereas an additional 4 weeks will give us more data and time to run an analysis and present results at the end of the quarter to determine how our work schedule will look like for the rest of the year.
We have two main hypotheses for this experiment:
- By implementing a 4-day workweek we can achieve the same company results with 20% less working time.
- By implementing a 4-day workweek we can increase the overall well-being of our team members.
Hypothesis 1: productivity
By implementing a 4-day workweek we can achieve the same company results. The metric for this hypothesis is measured through productivity, which we define on a company level as:
- Achieve 80% of roadmap and OKR goals company-wide and per team with the same quality as we would have aimed in a 5-day workweek;
- No negative impact on our company and team KPIs (company and unit):
We discussed this experiment internally with our management team after we had set our quarterly OKRs and built our roadmaps to:
- Control the experiment variables- not changing our goals based on the assumption that we wouldn’t be able to achieve them with one day less in the week.
- To offer our team the opportunity to think about and experiment with how they can achieve the same results with 20% less working time.
Hypothesis 2: well-being
By implementing a 4-day workweek we can increase the overall well-being of our team members. This will be measured by:
- By implementing a 4-day workweek we can reduce the feelings of anxiousness/distress that our team members are experiencing.
- By implementing a 4-day workweek we can reduce the perceived levels of stress our team members are experiencing
- By implementing a 4-day workweek we can increase the feelings of perceived work productivity and efficiency.
- By implementing a 4-day workweek leaders’ perception of their ability to perform will not be impacted negatively.
- By implementing a 4-day workweek team members will invest more in their professional development.
These will be measured by a weekly survey. Please note that the results of these surveys might have an implicit bias because we believe people want a 4-day workweek and, consequently, give us answers that they might think will lead to the implementation of a 4-day work week for the rest of the year. Therefore, we will also implement an observation process that will require a bi-weekly mini-report from leaders to be sent to our People Ops team on the hypothesis above on how they perceive the overall well-being of their team.
What our 4-day workweek will look like
We’ve decided that the whole company will be off on Friday (with exceptions outlined below) and become part of their new working schedule for the next 8 weeks. The idea behind this coordinated effort is to prevent a loss of cadence across teams. Please note that it’s not our intention to ask our team members to compress their workweek by adding more hours to a regular workday.
We’ve built an online schedule that is accessible by all our team members to keep track of everyone’s availability for the rest of the quarter. This schedule also includes everyone’s national holidays and planned vacation days.
Our Customer Experience (CX) and Engineering teams have an exception to having all Fridays off. They’ll have to coordinate their schedules to ensure we can always offer support to our customers and SLAs with our internal and external users are not affected.
For the next 8 weeks, our CX and CLON teams will rotate in their shifts, alternating Wednesdays and Fridays off. This is to ensure that the team is available at the beginning of the week- when we usually have a high volume of tickets- and are able to have a day off on Wednesday to break the week. At the end of the week, we usually tend to have lower volume and team members can enjoy a long weekend in those weeks. For our Muslim team members, they will rotate in taking Sundays and Wednesdays off.
Our engineers have indicated that they would rather have 4-days of continuous work. How we will start experimenting is that all of our engineers will be off on Friday, except the support developer of the week who will need to be present in case our CX team or users need support.
Our CEO, CTO, and People Ops (POPS) team should remain available for any urgent matters. You can contact them through WA. Their phone numbers can be found in their Slack profiles.
CEO & CTO
Emergencies to involve CEO (Santiago Jaramillo) and/or CTO (Luisa Moscoso):
- Major issues with core interactions in the platform;
- An attempt of fraud through our platform;
- Blocker to decisions;
- One or more clients are blocked that can’t be resolved by anyone else.
Emergencies that will require POPS support:
- Being locked out of G-suite, LastPass, Zoom or Slack;
Holidays and vacation
Whenever there’s a national holiday during the week, the team member can choose to either take the holiday or the chosen workday off to comply with the 4-day workweek. As per our usual processes, we expect team members to share this information with their leaders at the latest in the first week of each quarter to ensure final details and expectations of roadmap execution are based on team members’ planned availability.
The same goes for any planned vacation days. These will need to be discussed and pre-approved by the team leaders.
Planning your week
We’ve always emphasized the importance of planning ahead in a remote work setting. Having a shorter workweek will require us to be more vigilant with ensuring all of our G-Calendars are updated to showcase availability across teams throughout the week. The latter is especially true for our CX and CLON teams who will be having rotational days off.
Team members who work in account management should share expectations of their availability:
- a) indicate in their signatures that Bunny Studio has a 4-day workweek of which Fridays is our day off; and
- b) have their “out of office” message scheduled each Friday.
One of the bigger challenges with a shorter workweek is managing our focus days. At Bunny Studio we have our Mondays to Wednesdays reserved as focus days in which we discourage team members to book meetings (unless project-related or to remove blockers). With a shorter workweek, especially team leaders, will have to juggle on how they will manage their schedules without distracting their team members too much. Management will need to organize Thursdays for their 1–1s and checkpoints. Any other meetings can be booked on Wednesday afternoon.
Being part of this 4-day workweek, all our team members agree on the following:
- Completed roadmaps and set OKRs and KPIs before the start of this experiment.
- Received approval from team leaders on the vacation days and national holidays they plan to take during Q3 2020 before the start of this experiment.
- Same day reply to the weekly surveys being sent out by our People Ops team.
- Out of office (OOO) box scheduled in their calendars for the next 8 weeks.
- Updated phone numbers in their Slack profile to ensure availability in case of an emergency.
What happens after these 8 weeks?
As aforementioned, we will gather feedback from our team on a weekly basis and we’ll monitor OKRs and KPIs as a quantitative measure of productivity. Based on these results, we will determine if we will continue the 4-day workweek for a longer period of time or to return to a more typical workweek. In the meantime, this will not become a permanent policy and we won’t be setting precedents. Like with all we do, this is an experiment.