Is The 4-Day Week The Future Of Work? A Q&A With Joe O’Connor

Can spending much less time on the clock really make your workforce extra productive?

Joe O’Connor thinks so. He’s the CEO of, an organization aiming to shift our collective mindsets across the conventional 9 to five, Monday to Friday grind.

It sounds counterintuitive, for positive – and but many organizations are prepared to present it a attempt.

In reality, Search Engine Journal is experimenting with a four-day workweek proper now.

Joe at the moment leads 4 Day Week World’s pilot program, and within the first six months of 2022, 150 firms and seven,000 of their staff participated in six-month coordinated trials of the four-day week.

Joe just lately joined SEJ Present host Loren Baker in a podcast episode on serving to your advertising workforce succeed contained in the construction of a 4-day workweek.

We had the chance to attach with Joe after his podcast interview and ask a couple of extra questions on how he grew into this profession as a versatile work advocate and agent of organizational change.

Right here, he talks about management, productiveness, and the tendencies and abilities we’ll must future-proof our careers and corporations going ahead.

Rising Into The 4-Day Week Mindset

Miranda Miller: What path led you to grow to be the World Pilot Program Supervisor and now CEO of 4 Day Week World?

Joe O’Connor: “In my earlier position as campaigns director for Eire’s largest public service union Fórsa, I organized a global convention on the way forward for working time again in 2018 and based and launched the 4 Day Week Eire marketing campaign coalition in 2019.

I’ve been collaborating with 4 Day Week World’s pioneering founders, Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart since 2019 additionally.

After I developed a four-day-week pilot program and analysis challenge in Eire final yr, it aligned with their plans to develop a worldwide pilot challenge and a serious U.S. marketing campaign, so I got here on board full-time with the group in September 2021.

On the similar time, I moved from Eire to New York Metropolis with my associate and our two cocker spaniels, the place I’m additionally main a analysis challenge on work time discount as a visiting fellow with Cornell College’s ILR Faculty.”

Miranda Miller: Inform us a bit about what you do. How has this work mannequin modified the best way you get your personal work finished?

Joe O’Connor: “I’ve realized quite a bit from the sort of first-hand publicity I’ve needed to a variety of very totally different firms who’ve adopted progressive new work practices, recognized course of enhancements, and embraced new applied sciences to make their companies environment friendly sufficient to ship 5 days’ value of output in 4.

This has not solely strengthened my capability to help leaders to determine methods to make this work for his or her enterprise but in addition enabled me to implement these methods to make our group as lean and environment friendly as it might probably presumably be.

This can be a steady work in progress – the four-day week and good working is an ongoing health, not a one-off determination.”

Miranda Miller: At your management stage, how is your time break up between organizational technique, individuals administration, and different actions?

Joe O’Connor: “Though we’re rising quickly, we’re nonetheless a comparatively small group with fairly a flat organizational construction, so I’m nonetheless very deeply concerned with executing our day-to-day operations and rolling out international pilot packages.

The unbelievable natural momentum behind the worldwide four-day week motion, significantly up to now six months or so, has meant that we’ve got needed to be extraordinarily nimble in responding to this fast-moving area.

In current months, I’ve been capable of dedicate extra of my time to proactively charting our future path. We’re constructing capability in the direction of our goal of operating our 4 Day Week pilot program quarterly in each time zone and area by the second quarter of 2023.”

Productiveness, Management, And The 100-80-100™ Mannequin

Miranda Miller: Are you able to share the highest two influences shaping how you concentrate on productiveness and management?

Joe O’Connor: “One of many issues that impressed me was my expertise with public sector staff in Eire, the place many working dad and mom – predominantly ladies – instructed us en masse in a serious survey that that they had opted to work four-day or reduced-hour schedules after coming back from parental go away, for work-life steadiness and childcare causes.

Nonetheless, though that they had dropped to 80% of their wage, they nonetheless felt that their duties have been the identical, their position expectations have been the identical, and their output was the identical.

This tells us two issues: One, we’ve got a major gender equality drawback within the office which a common four-day week might be revolutionary in addressing.

And two, in the case of productiveness, Parkinson’s Regulation holds true – work duties will develop to fill the time accessible for his or her completion.

Our founder Andrew Barnes has additionally impressed me on this regard. The landmark four-day week trial he spearheaded in his firm in 2018, Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand, was primarily motivated by productiveness.

By shifting the emphasis away from the variety of hours spent on the workplace, on the desk, or on the clock and onto the work being produced and outcomes being achieved, he may ship higher enterprise efficiency whereas altering the lives of his staff for the higher.

The 100-80-100™ mannequin he pioneered on this trial – 100% pay, 80% time, in alternate for a dedication to 100% output – is now altering the world of labor, being adopted by a whole bunch of firms worldwide with our steering.”

Setting Your 4-Day Week Program Up For Success

Miranda Miller: What productiveness suggestions are you able to share with firms trying to make a four-day workweek marketing campaign a part of their tradition?

Joe O’Connor: “For a lot of firms, the four-day week is already right here. It’s simply buried below the rubble of wasteful practices and outdated processes, reminiscent of a scarcity of assembly self-discipline, pointless distractions and introductions within the workday, and poor use of know-how.

The four-day week can present a transformative forcing operate in your organization to deal with these inefficiencies and powerfully align the corporate’s productiveness motivation with worker motivation for the transformative advantages that an additional time without work work can deliver.

Whereas management must be very clear in setting and speaking the route of journey, together with the aim, aims, and metrics for the trial, they then must empower their individuals to determine the small print.

Probably the most detail-oriented CEO on the planet doesn’t know the day-to-day intricacies of the roles of every of their staff effectively sufficient to revamp them.

The best and most sustainable productiveness good points have been achieved by firms which have adopted a bottom-up strategy to implementation, enabling workers to work out the modifications to work practices essential to revamp their work.

Usually, some leaders overthink potential issues and blockages within the C-suite as a substitute of asking their individuals for concepts and options.”

Ideas For Future-Proofing Your Profession & Enterprise

What’s subsequent for the world of labor? What key tendencies/practices that firms want to start out embracing, and the way can leaders future-proof themselves?

Joe O’Connor: “Once we began working with firms to trial or transition to reduced-hour working again in 2019, the first causes have been addressing productiveness points and burnout considerations.

Whereas each of those stay essential, they’ve been surpassed by recruitment and retention as the one greatest cause why leaders are being drawn to the four-day week.

In a really aggressive labor market, progressive and forward-thinking leaders acknowledge that if they will pull off the four-day week with out sacrificing organizational priorities, they may give themselves a really important aggressive edge within the conflict for expertise.

Whereas many firms may not be capable of compete within the prime 1% of compensation, they will compete in providing among the many prime 1% of workweeks.

And the best advantages will circulation for the longest interval to the earliest adopters.

Firms like Atom Financial institution within the U.Okay. have seen a 500% enhance in purposes for open job vacancies since shifting to a four-day week.

Healthwise, a big not-for-profit right here within the U.S. launched the four-day week final August to fight retention points and has since seen its unplanned worker turnover scale back to zero.

Leaders now must ask themselves: Is my biggest threat the danger of making an attempt the four-day week and failing, or is it my greatest competitor embracing this new means of working first and reaping the rewards?

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Featured Picture: Courtesy of Joe O’Connor/4 Day Week World