An Interview With SEJ CEO, Jenise Uehara

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A brand new examine by 4 Day Week World explores the feasibility and advantages of a four-day workweek.

The analysis follows 200 corporations via year-long pilot packages to guage the influence of lowered hours on productiveness, worker satisfaction, and enterprise efficiency.

The findings counsel adopting a four-day schedule whereas sustaining pay can promote work-life steadiness, enhance well being, and even improve productiveness.

Jenise Uehara, CEO of Search Engine Journal, gives a novel perspective, sharing her firm’s transition from doubt to success with a four-day week.

Beneath her management, the enterprise noticed elevated gross sales with the identical staffing, demonstrating the potential of a four-day schedule to maintain or enhance outcomes.

Her insights and broader examine observations current a compelling case for rethinking conventional schedules favoring a extra balanced, environment friendly, and sustainable strategy.

About The Research

Starting final yr, 4 Day Week World guided roughly 200 organizations via pilot packages and is working additional quarterly international pilots in 2023.

The strategy relies on the 100-80-100 mannequin designed by Charlotte Lockhart alongside the Perpetual Guardian trial in 2018.

This mannequin ensures 100% of the pay for 80% of the time in change for a dedication to delivering 100% of the output.

4 Day Week World goals to make a four-day week the brand new default and lowered working time the brand new customary.

A Nearer Look At The Outcome

The six-month trial of a shorter work week resulted in staff working almost 5 fewer hours per week on common in comparison with the baseline of 38 hours.

By the top of the trial, the typical work week had declined to only below 33 hours. Workers reported constructive experiences throughout the shortened work weeks, score their satisfaction a 9 out of 10 after the trial ended.

Over the 12-month examine interval, staff famous enhancements of their self-assessed bodily and psychological well being. They attributed these good points to an enhanced work-life steadiness enabled by the lowered hours.

In response to lead researcher Professor Juliet Schor of Boston School, the continued discount in hours didn’t come at the price of elevated work depth.

As a substitute, she notes, “individuals operated extra effectively and continued to enhance these capabilities because the yr progressed.”

Spectacular Outcomes Throughout The Board

The examine checked out 41 corporations within the US and Canada that examined out a four-day workweek for six months. The suggestions on the trial was exceptionally constructive.

Not one of the corporations plan to return to requiring staff to work 5 days every week.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the businesses rated the general expertise an 8.7. They have been pleased with enterprise productiveness, efficiency, and the brand new capability to herald gifted staff.

All through the pilot program, common income went up by 15%.

Workers had related constructive experiences throughout the four-day workweek trial. An awesome 95% of staff wished to proceed with the shortened week after the trial ended.

Moreover, 69% mentioned they felt much less burned out, and 40% reported decreased stress ranges.

Additional, 42% of staff engaged in additional environmentally acutely aware behaviors throughout the trial, like recycling, buying eco-friendly merchandise, and selecting to stroll or bike as an alternative of driving.

Search Engine Journal CEO Displays On Success Of 4-Day WorkWeek

When Search Engine Journal shifted to a four-day work week final yr, Uehara admitted she had reservations.

Nevertheless, the shortened schedule exceeded expectations, enhancing worker satisfaction and boosting income.

The four-day schedule was applied after in depth analysis and planning by employees. A committee of staff studied greatest practices for sustaining productiveness whereas assessing workflow and time administration.

Their efforts paid off. The corporate has seen a 22% enhance in gross sales in comparison with the earlier yr, whereas headcount has remained regular.

Uehara states:

“I’m comfortable to report that at this time, we’re reaping the rewards. Gross sales have elevated 22% this yr, in comparison with the identical interval in 2022.”

Uehara credit improved productiveness and streamlined work practices, enabling the identical employees to tackle elevated demand.

“Now we have fulfilled the demand enhance with little issue however roughly the identical headcount. In 2022, once we had a 5-day week, this enhance would have damaged us.”

In an interview, we delve into how she saved productiveness up whereas adopting a four-day workweek, the influence on work-life steadiness, and her recommendation to different corporations.

Protecting Productiveness Up

Uehara highlighted two important methods in addressing the problem of sustaining productiveness regardless of the shortened work time.

First, the crew experimented with numerous productiveness instruments like Google Suite, Slack, Asana, and Loom movies.

“We adopted those we favored and constructed them into our accepted and inspired work practices. Instruments like scheduled focus time, asynchronous communication through Google Suite, Slack, Asana, and Loom movies instead of reside conferences or huddles.”

The second technique concerned self-reflection to deal with management, energy, and perfectionism points.

She explains:

“Hoarding energy and management is exhausting, time-consuming, and causes disengagement along with your crew members. Perfectionism is just not the identical as excellence; it’s a masks for management and results in burnout.

I’m so fortunate to have a crew prepared to get introspective and experiment with letting go of management, pushing authority and empowerment downwards and outwards. Letting go in the precise means provides you extra time to do extra productive issues.”

Easing Purchasers’ Issues

Initially, purchasers weren’t knowledgeable of the schedule change to keep away from considerations.

She explains:

“Our advertisers had zero considerations as a result of we made the choice to not inform them beforehand! Our objective was to seamlessly preserve our excessive requirements for sponsor success as we transitioned.

It was a little bit of a bet, I admit. However we made it work, and our purchasers remained pleased with the extent of service we continued to offer on a 4 day week program.”

Modifications In Work-Life Steadiness

For the Uehara personally, the shortened week has improved work-life steadiness.

She needed to re-evaluate her work strategies, transition from multi-tasking to a extra prioritized strategy, and implement adjustments to how she carried out conferences.

“Together with everybody else right here, I needed to take a crucial eye on how I used to be spending my time. I noticed that whereas my firm had grown, my work strategies had not scaled.

I used to be multi-tasking continuously, responding to each advert hoc request or message in actual time. This labored okay once we have been a small group of oldtimers however not a lot in a crew of 34.

After I found that interruptions are one of many high killers of productiveness, I knew I wanted to make adjustments.”

Utilizing Time Extra Effectively

Uehara outlines the adjustments she made to make use of her time extra effectively:

“Right this moment, I take a prioritized strategy to my inbox. I’ve requested that every one requests go into our challenge administration platform so I can hold monitor of them. I work off an inventory of to-dos every day. Taming the urge to deal with each notification or ask has made me extra aware of my crew, not much less.”

Moreover, Uehara turned extra conscious of how she scheduled her crew’s time:

“I checked out how I confirmed up for conferences. I known as conferences with minimal or no agendas communicated beforehand, saying we’d determine it out in actual time.

After I began to note that we have been losing the primary a part of the assembly defining why we have been there, I knew I needed to make a change. This turned particularly obvious with crew members in 5 time zones and now, a 4 day week.

Right this moment, I take a conscious strategy to each assembly: if I’m the organizer, I put a variety of effort into choosing solely must-have attendees, documenting “what success seems to be like” agendas, and protecting the assembly scope tight and on matter.

You understand that second on the finish of the day while you take a fast psychological survey of what you achieved? And the way nice it feels when you possibly can look again and say to your self, “I bought loads achieved at this time.” I’ve much more of these days in a 4-day week.”

Advantages Of Fridays Off

Talking concerning the results of the brand new schedule on her life, she mentioned:

“So far as the ‘life’ a part of the steadiness, I really feel nice about that, too. I can do enjoyable issues or run errands on Fridays, and it feels nice to know I nonetheless have the weekend, too.

Having mentioned that, I nonetheless work right here and there on off-days or off-hours. However I did that with a five-day week, too; the distinction is that the work I’m doing is larger high quality and extra conscious due to the shift in mindset and the way we work as an organization.”


When requested concerning the long-term prospects of sticking to the four-day schedule, the Uehara is optimistic, stating:

“So long as we’re capable of preserve productiveness ranges, I’m very optimistic that we are going to proceed to make it work.”

Recommendation To Different Firms

For different corporations contemplating a four-day week, Uehara advises involving employees early within the exploration course of and permitting them to guide via implementation.

She additionally emphasizes setting a program objective and measuring success in opposition to that objective.

In her phrases:

“I believe it’s completely crucial to ask your employees into the exploration course of early and allow them to lead throughout implementation.

Your front-line people know what it can take to make this work. They should educate themselves on greatest practices to allow them to give suggestions and suggestions after which assist with the implementation. We couldn’t have achieved this with out our staff-led 4DW committee.”

Measuring Success

On measuring the success of a four-day workweek initiative, Uehara recommends the next:

“I extremely advocate setting a program objective and measuring success all through that objective. For us, it was sustaining the 100/80/100 rule: “100% of the productiveness and the pay, in 80% of the time”.

It’s straightforward to get misplaced within the weeds sometimes with an unconventional shift like this. Most individuals wouldn’t have expertise with a four-day week, and it’s not as straightforward as simply closing the workplace on Fridays. You’ll have to remind your individuals periodically why you’re doing this, and also you want a yardstick to measure whether or not this system is working or not.”

In Abstract

Whereas extra analysis is required, this examine exhibits that transitioning to a four-day workweek can profit staff and companies.

Firms contemplating this transformation ought to totally analyze their operations and workforce wants to find out if such a schedule is possible.

If adopted, management should handle the transition rigorously whereas monitoring productiveness and morale.

With correct planning and execution, the four-day week presents a promising roadmap to a extra sustainable future of labor.

Featured Picture: Dmitry Demidovich/Shutterstock

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