Four-day workweek pilot a success, leveraging data for employee success

Plus, a tech giant is changing their remote work policy.

Greetings comms pros! Let’s look at some news stories from the last week and see what we can learn from them.

1. Global 4-day week pilot was a huge success, organizers say

After a six-month trial run, the results are in. According to the data, a four-day workweek isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for business too. Could this be the start of a burgeoning trend?

CNN reports:

The majority of companies taking part in the trial were based in the United States and Ireland. Those responding to the survey rated their overall experience 9 out of 10, based on productivity and performance.

Workers were equally positive about the trial, reporting lower levels of stress, fatigue, insomnia and burnout, and improvements in physical and mental health.

The trial was also good for company earnings. Average revenue rose 38% when compared to the same period last year, according to the survey.

It’s not new information that a four-day workweek can benefit both employers and employees. But seeing this on such a large scale is incredibly encouraging. Coupled with the fact that Ragan’s own research also suggests that CEOs would support a shorter workweek. But hopefully pulling this off on a larger scale will lead more companies to give this pilot a spin.

2. Monitoring your employees doesn’t make them more productive

Points of contact between employer and employee are as important as ever in our remote and hybrid work world. However, organizations shouldn’t monitor their staff’s every move. They should instead use the power of data to help make them perform their jobs better.

According to Quartz:

Leaders can cultivate a culture of trust, transparency, and productivity by using technology that is decidedly not big brother tech. Using people data empowers employees with information, formalizes communications, and leads by example. People data—like compensation and performance reviews, employee surveys, and feedback—must work for employees, not just employers.

Data from employee monitoring systems works for leaders, not employees. A productivity score doesn’t give the complete picture of an employee’s performance. Monitoring software can’t track certain forms of team development and completed tasks and goals, but technical problems can arise and impact scores. What if an employee’s computer gets stuck in idle mode, skewing their numbers, for example?

Many employees feel stressed that monitoring systems could miss some of their vital, offline work. For example, over 35% of employees say they spend between two and three hours in daily meetings—downtime not captured by metrics. Is it fair for companies unable to track or prove the effectiveness of these meetings to punish employees for carrying out their responsibilities?

While it’s understandable for employers to want to know how employees spend their time, that process is only effective when  trust and transparency exit between the two groups. Instead of using tech to act as a sort of big brother with their employees, organizations should utilize tools to empower their employees to succeed. For instance, instead of monitoring every keystroke, companies can monitor for larger trends and patterns that may merit manager assistance or even a new upskilling opportunity. Technological advancements have helped make work tenable amid the pandemic, but we need to use it correctly.

3. Snap employees to be in offices 80% of time from end-Feb

Social media app Snap is requiring their employees to be in the office most of the time starting at the end of February.

“After working remotely for so long, we’re excited to get everyone back together next year with our new 80/20 hybrid model,” a spokesperson for the social media platform said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

This is an interesting development for Snap, especially after laying off nearly a quarter of its staff in February. The tech industry has seen a recent trend of calling employees back to their physical workspaces in recent months, most notably with Twitter’s new in-office mandate under Elon Musk. While each company has different needs, it’s better form to work with employees individually to find out what their best work location might be. What if an employee moved during the pandemic? What if they’re needed for caregiving in addition to their occupation? There are a great deal of mitigating factors that need to be looked at before handing down a return-to-office rule.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend, comms all-stars!

 

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

 

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