The virtues of structured flexibility
HR leaders are currently faced with a variety of different choices when it comes to designing the right flexibility model for their business. 🤹♀️
They know that, in most industries, offering some form of flexibility is necessary in today’s labor market if they want to be competitive.
So why opt for a shorter working week structure instead of a pure flexibility model where people can work where they like, when they like?
The answer lies in the virtues of structured flexibility.
Often, when “total flexibility” is offered without clear structure, and in a way that is silent on the average hours people work or changing the way they work, this model can be so discretionary and individualized as to be effectively meaningless.
Like with many examples of unlimited holiday/PTO policies in the United States, the benefit tends to be unevenly distributed, and the level of take up and access can vary widely depending on how your manager interprets the policy, career progression dynamics, team dynamics, individual roles and personalities, and even gender.
It also fails to provide an incentive for collective, structural change.
The #4DayWeek is so universally life-changing and transformative that it drives engagement, collaboration and collective responsibility across teams to find a better way to do things.
Instead of leaving it up to individuals, people are motivated to work together to change how they meet, how they communicate, how they use technology, and how they address inefficiencies.
Whether you see the future of work for your organization as being remote-first and asynchronous, in-person and on-site, or somewhere in between, work time reduction can be a powerful driver for collective action where everyone benefits materially from finding solutions to the challenges facing your business.
The two key ingredients for change
In order to address an issue, you need two key ingredients.
- an understanding of the root causes of the issue, and
- the motivation and urgency to address it
Most business leaders today recognize the need to future proof their organization, and that in order to do this they need their operations to be lean, nimble and efficient while making sure their business is an attractive, engaging place to work for their people.
- Our operational excellence diagnostic for work time reduction assesses your organization’s health across a wide range of different factors, and identifies issues and challenges that need to be remedied and overcome – getting to the root causes of what is holding you back from being as productive as you could be.
- The incentive of introducing a shorter working week trial or policy provides the motivation and urgency necessary to engage and empower all of your people in addressing these key issues and challenges.
That’s why this approach often leads to the almost counter intuitive outcome of businesses delivering better results while their people work fewer hours – it’s got the right ingredients to make an impactful and sustainable change.
Partnering with Banks Benitez
Our latest partnership at the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence is a particularly exciting one.
I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with Banks Benitez over the past couple of years, and I can say without hesitation that he is one of the most inspirational leaders and insightful thinkers on the #FutureOfWork that I’ve worked alongside.
He is one of the true pioneers of the shorter working week in the United States. In addition to his direct executive experience of leading his company Uncharted to implement a #4DayWeek in 2020, he was also instrumental in the world’s first amalgamation of two four-day week organizations when Uncharted became part of Common Future.
That’s why we’ve joined forces with Smart Workweek to grow the shorter working week movement together.
What does this mean for the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence clients and community?
It means we can now offer direct, exclusive access to the Smart Workweek platform, a leading online course for teams with step-by-step guidelines and resources on how to pilot a four-day week.
This provides small companies with the end-to-end support necessary to successfully transition to a four-day week, as well as an evergreen resource for large organizations for ongoing reference and retraining in smart working.
This will capably supplement the bespoke, in-depth, industry-specific consultancy services that we offer at the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence, as well as the market-leading operational excellence capacity and #ChangeManagement expertise of Curium Solutions / Curium Solutions US.
And this isn’t just about combining our past creations and present offerings. We are committed to collaborating together to build groundbreaking new services, and to jointly develop technology solutions, that will help to scale the global shorter working week movement and shape the future world of work.
By combining our shared knowledge of supporting hundreds of companies to transition to reduced-hour schedules, as well as the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence consultancy services and Smart Workweek‘s online course, together we are building a suite of resources and collective expertise to help companies big and small transition to a shorter working week.