In the next iteration of our innovative approaches to work, HOT is piloting a voluntary, 4-day work week as part of a global initiative exploring how reduced time can result in increased productivity
HOT has always been an innovative, people-focused organization. As new challenges emerge, we want to continue a people-focused approach to solutions. HOT has been fully remote since 2010 and was location agnostic in hiring well before the pandemic had forced organizations to go remote and reconsider their ways of working. We have kept schedules and location flexible as a fully-remote organization on the basis that we trust our staff to know when and where they do their best work. We also try to stay at the forefront of new ideas that we think will continue to enable happy, healthy, productive staff while ensuring impact.
The four-day work week (or a 20% reduction in the working hours) is an emerging business improvement strategy based on the belief that we can increase productivity by reducing working hours while cutting out wasted time, ineffective communication and increasing focus. HOT will be piloting a model in which staff will receive 100% of their pay, while working 80% of a traditional, 40 hour work week (or local equivalent), in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100% productivity. This work is supported by external researchers at Boston College to evaluate our productivity, staff wellbeing, and effects on our global emissions and energy use. We think the 4-day week presents an opportunity to innovate- How can we become a more effective organization while hopefully improving some of the pervasive issues of work-life balance, burnout and gender disparities.
In addition to the productivity and staff wellbeing benefits, we want to explore how reduced-hour, productivity-focused working can create a more equitable workplace. It is now well documented that women and especially women of color faced the biggest burdens as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, though many inequalities were present long before that particular global crisis. Women in most societies are disproportionately responsible for tasks around the home, this is especially true when they work remotely. HOT includes “Gender Equality” among our five key impact areas and HOT hopes to model our organization after the world we are working toward. More hours at home could change the distribution or lessen childcare or family dependent burdens, reduce sick days, potentially reduce childcare costs, and much more. We look forward to evaluating the changes for our staff and sharing the results of this initiative for a more equitable workplace.
Through this pilot, we hope not just to maintain our current goals and commitments, but to exceed them, as has been seen in similar pilots around the world. We remain committed to our communities, donors, volunteers and other partners. Since our founding, HOT staff and community members have worked far outside the boundaries of a 9-5, Monday to Friday schedule to ensure we are always able to meet the needs of communities and partners responding to crises. We will maintain a flexible schedule, remote team and community-centered approach. Many organizations have found they become even more productive in those four days than they were in five.
We are working with experts at 4 Day Week Global to design, implement and evaluate this pilot with dozens of other organizations over the next six months. They are providing us with training, mentoring, network support and independent research. We want to ensure that this is a good fit for the future of HOT before committing past the six month pilot. Throughout the pilot, researchers from Boston College will conduct surveys with our staff and we’re committed to sharing the results- good, bad or great.
If you are piloting this too, would like more information on how it’s going at HOT, or have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on some of the other organizations participating in this pilot, check out 4 Day Week Global’s announcement.