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 crew 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 offer it a attempt.

In truth, 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 corporations and seven,000 of their workers participated in six-month coordinated trials of the four-day week.

Joe not too long ago joined SEJ Present host Loren Baker in a podcast episode on serving to your advertising crew 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 number 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 have to future-proof our careers and corporations going ahead.

Rising Into The 4-Day Week Mindset

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

Joe O’Connor: “In my earlier function as campaigns director for Eire’s largest public service union Fórsa, I organized a world 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.

Once I developed a four-day-week pilot program and analysis undertaking in Eire final yr, it aligned with their plans to develop a worldwide pilot undertaking 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 undertaking 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 achieved?

Joe O’Connor: “I’ve realized so much from the type of first-hand publicity I’ve needed to a variety of very totally different corporations 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’ price of output in 4.

This has not solely strengthened my capability to help leaders to determine how one can 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 be.

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

Miranda Miller: At your management degree, how is your time cut 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 world pilot packages.

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

In current months, I’ve been in a position to 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 consider productiveness and management?

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

Nevertheless, though they’d dropped to 80% of their wage, they nonetheless felt that their tasks have been the identical, their function expectations have been the identical, and their output was the identical.

This tells us two issues: One, now we have a big gender equality downside within the office which a common four-day week might be revolutionary in addressing.

And two, with regards to productiveness, Parkinson’s Legislation holds true – work duties will broaden 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 workers 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 lots of of corporations worldwide with our steerage.”

Setting Your 4-Day Week Program Up For Success

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

Joe O’Connor: “For a lot of corporations, 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 expertise.

The four-day week can present a transformative forcing perform in your organization to handle 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, targets, and metrics for the trial, they then have to empower their individuals to determine the main points.

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

The best and most sustainable productiveness features have been achieved by corporations which have adopted a bottom-up method to implementation, enabling employees to work out the adjustments to work practices crucial to revamp their work.

Typically, some leaders overthink potential issues and blockages within the C-suite as an alternative of asking their individuals for concepts and options.”

Suggestions For Future-Proofing Your Profession & Enterprise

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

Joe O’Connor: “Once we began working with corporations 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 largest cause why leaders are being interested in 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 can provide themselves a really vital aggressive edge within the conflict for expertise.

Whereas many corporations won’t 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% improve in purposes for open job vacancies since transferring 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 cut back to zero.

Leaders now have to ask themselves: Is my biggest threat the danger of attempting the four-day week and failing, or is it my largest competitor embracing this new method of working first and reaping the rewards?

Extra Assets:

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


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