Raisely has just become a four day week company. Jordan, Raisely's Head of Customer Success, shares how and why we made it permanent.
Raisely is like no company I have worked at before, it is progressive in its work, purpose, and culture. We are a B Corp, our team is spread out across the globe, we are fully remote (not because of a pandemic) and we offer a free, no strings attached, service. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when a few months ago, a conversation I was nervous about took a Raisely approach.
Why a four day work week?
I reached out to Tom, our CEO, to talk about my schedule. I am currently a mother of a toddler with another on the way, living in the same emotionally draining world as you. I approached Tom about going 4 days a week looking to find a bit more balance between two jobs I love - mum to Leo and Head of Customer Success at Raisely. Asking to go 4 days wasn’t what I was nervous about, questioning the drop in pay is where I pushed my comfort levels. Even though I was looking to work a day less, my responsibilities over the Customer Success function weren’t going to change. I remember having the biggest knot in my stomach, was I being selfish or greedy? Everyone else who worked 4 days was paid 80%. But should they be?
Tom’s response the next week was a classic Raisely response - supportive, progressive, and open minded -
“I was thinking about it, and kind of came to the realisation that all days are not created equal. That a 4 day week does not mean 20% less work, or 20% less contribution, or 20% less responsibility. What if we trialed a 4 day week for everyone in the company?”
How did we start?
Needless to say, that is all I needed to hit the ground running on a trial. We were excited, so we moved quickly. We created a small task force with Tom, Katrina (our Finance Director), some employment lawyers, and got to work. We read articles, listened to podcasts, and made it up as we went.
Some logistics had to be figured out ahead of time, mainly are we legally allowed to do this and how do we schedule it?
- We kept everyone as full-time employees and called the 5th day off a 🎁 Gift Day - if you work 30.4 hours in a week you’re given the remaining 7.6 hours off (we are an Australia-founded company hence the 7.6 hour days)
- Australian Thursday was an anchor day - everyone had to work this day to allow us to schedule company-wide meetings
- Each team coordinated their days off based on team and individual needs
- New hires that started while the trial was happening did not participate
After a pre-trial survey, running multiple pre-mortems discussing what could go wrong and how to mitigate the risks, creating a policy everyone had to sign, and aligning on team goals - we started a 3 month trial.
All of Raisely’s 40-strong team (except a few 3 day part-timers) embarked on working a 31 hour week, with the same productivity goals, and the same pay. Those that were already working 4 days at 80% pay had their pay increased to 100% when the trial began 🙌 .
The first few weeks were a learning curve, we had to learn each other's schedules, recalibrate how much we could say yes to in a given week, and adjust our processes that were no longer serving this new way of working. Luckily, Raisely is full of flexible, selfless individuals that were more than willing to make adjustments to make this trial work.
We got better at setting our Slack status as “Away” to inform our teammates we were not in. We adjusted which days we were taking off when it didn’t suit our customers or our team. We became comfortable with saying and hearing no for the sake of priorities. By the end of the twelfth week, we were in a pretty good groove!
How did the trial go?
Our gut feel said “pretty good” but we looked at all 6,262 survey responses received to make sure.
We saw an improvement in individual well being
We saw an increase in self-reported work-life balance, energy levels, and feelings of calmness! The extra day off allowed people to complete life admin and actually relax and enjoy the weekend as it should be enjoyed. No more Sunday Scaries!
There were no drops in productivity caused by working 4 days
We heard from our team that the extra rest gave them the energy they needed to be creative, focus, and prioritise while at work.
Per Parkinson’s Law, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion."
It makes sense. We thought we might need extra productivity and time management training, but we didn’t. The ability to prioritise and complete tasks with less time happened naturally. Yes, things still popped up that delayed projects, and yes we could still do with extra team members (we’re hiring here 😉 ). Life would sometimes effect our work. These are hurdles any team faces, we didn’t find that they were caused or magnified by the 4 Day Week.
Improved customer response times
Continuing to service our customers to the same high standard was crucial for us during this trial. We ran into a few hiccups in the first couple of weeks but our customer success team quickly adapted. By the end, we achieved a decrease in overall response time to our customers!
We went from an average response time of 5.5 hours in the three months leading up to the trial to 4.4 hours during the 3 months of the trial! Our average first reply is still less than 3.5 hours 🙂
A slight drop in team connection
Raisely is a fully remote company, we don’t see each other every day. During the trial, we cut back meetings to only those that were necessary and our regular team socials inadvertently dropped off (except for Friday bevvies for those holding down the fort on Fridays!). This was what we missed the most over the course of the trial, but our surveys successfully caught the decrease and we’re already making strides to bring team connection back.
What is next for us at Raisely?
The 4 Day Week is here to stay! We ran a retrospective across our whole team, and based on their feedback there’s not much to change from how we conducted the trial.
We are prioritising more team bonding - cross functionally and within our teams. We’re implementing a monthly pulse check to ensure we stay on top of how our team is feeling and how the 4 Day Week is working.
And we continue to go further – because one initiative focused on improving the mental health and wellbeing of our team isn’t enough. So we just started offering free therapy and mental health support, via Spill.
And of course Tom can breathe a sigh of relief that our most expensive experiment to date was a success.
feel know I am a better employee and mother because of it. And most importantly, it has given me the confidence to ask uncomfortable questions.