Brevity employees Georgia Periam and Suryaraj Salunkhe are SO excited about the four-day work week pilot starting next month. Brevity is the only professional services organisation to take part in the pilot, and the idea of being at the forefront of this really appeals to both Georgia and Sury.

The pilot includes 20 companies from New Zealand and Australia, who will be supported with resources and direction by the not-for-profit Four Day Week Global organisation. During the pilot, Brevity will aim to achieve their normal levels of productivity but with a 20 percent reduction in hours. Georgia says when she told her friends about the pilot, they thought it sounded great, but expected she would be working 4 x 10 hour days. They were very surprised to hear that the pilot involves working a 32 hour week while being paid for 40 hours, the mantra of the four-day work week being 100/80/100.  That is 100% of the pay, for 80% of the time, for 100% of the output.

The key to achieving success in the pilot is maintaining productivity and the team (not management) have been tasked with finding ways to improve their productivity. The responsibility lies with each and every team member to make it work. The upside is an extra day each week which they describe as a non-working day.

Finding Balance

As Sury explains, for him it is ‘time to do life’. He can fit in non-work appointments, get life admin sorted and generally get on top of life so that when he’s at work he can be more focused. The research backs this up, with a significant increase in the number of employees who felt like they could successfully manage their work life balance.

Georgia got engaged last year during Covid (congratulations!!), and is excited to have a non-work day each week to plan the wedding and progress the planning and building of their new home – not to mention some study time for her project management course. The extra time will enable Georgia to have balance between her work and life commitments. It’s no surprise to know that when Perpetual Guardian first piloted the 4-day work week, they saw a reduction in levels of burnout, stress, sick leave, and absenteeism.

Teamwork Works

But in order for this to happen, the Brevity team must determine how to measure their current productivity, and how to keep it at 100 percent whilst working 80 percent of the time. The excitement in the team is real. Sury and Georgia are leading the process, but they feel the responsibility for success is held equally by everyone involved. Sury says “we are all up for it. Everyone is already having conversations about doing things better and we are sharing our ideas.”

Both Georgia and Sury felt the high level of transparency and trust within the organisation will contribute to the success of the trial. In addition, the organisation is set up with a strong focus on continuous improvement. Georgia explains “We constantly challenge ourselves on ‘how could I do this better?”. Our work culture has a strong emphasis on trying new and innovative approaches and this sets us up well to experiment and improve.” Sury adds, “Many of the processes we have in place already for continuous improvement also make it easier to get on board with the four-day work week.

As it is mostly uncharted territory, there are plenty of challenges the team won’t appreciate until they arise. Right now the focus is on how to ‘provide better than ever’ client service, and figuring out practical solutions such as who will be off on which days.

Continual Improvements

“The more we think, the more questions we have” explains Sury. A question and ideas board has been started for any thoughts and solutions that occur prior and during the trial. There is also a Google thread to capture conversations. The learnings from other organisations who have implemented a four-day work week have been really useful and have saved the team from reinventing the wheel on a number of fronts. Georgia and Sury are also keen to document the BVT journey so they can pay it forward and other organisations who would like to try a four-day work week can learn from the Brevity pilot.

If you’d like to keep up with Brevity’s four-day work week pilot, follow us on LinkedIn where we’ll be posting our journey. You can also read what the four day week means for construction here.