Our Four Day Week Trial: The First Two Months

by Tia Robinson

Expath is two months into our six-month trial of the 4 Day Week and we‘re excited to share how it’s going!

TL;DR version — it’s going great so far.

Read on to see how our KPIs are doing, as well as the specific areas we’re focusing on, like time management.

How are our 4DW KPIs doing?

For both of our operational units, the Language School and the Global Mobility department, we measured responsiveness efficiency (how well are we answering clients) and customer experience.

We’ve measured our responsiveness with two points:

  • ticket turnaround time (our target response time is within 24h)

  • ticket backlog

For customer experience we’ve also measured two points:

  • customer satisfaction (CSAT)

  • net promoter score (NPS)

Overall it’s a mixed bag as the Global Mobility department performed higher on all measures as compared to our baseline in February, while the Language School performed lower. Since it’s only two months in, it’s hard to tell if this is a trend or just represents a usual monthly fluctuation — the Language School was also busy training a new team member in April, while the GM department workload is more stable than in February, so this likely affected the April measurements.

What’s clear is that on all teams the responsiveness is still well within our target of answers within 24 hours (14h5m for the Language School and 12h42m for the Global Mobility Department). NPS and CSAT scores also remain above our target, although we’ll be digging deeper into why customer experience dropped in April for the Language School and whether it’s a temporary blip or a trend.

For our employee KPIs, the results are clear: employee satisfaction has increased on each of our four measures:

  • happiness

  • company motivators

  • personal motivators

  • relationships

In the next update we’ll also be able to report on employee NPS, as we only measure this every 3 months.

Wins and Pain Points

Before the trial, the team outlined four main areas we thought we’d need to develop in order for the 4DW to succeed, and we set some company best practices in each area. Below you can find the wins and challenges for each area so far:

  1. Communication channels. Before the trial we defined when we would use chat, meetings, emails, tagging in sheets, etc. depending on the purpose of the communication. We also set labels for emails to mark each one in the subject line as [INFO], [ACTION], or [REQUEST]. Uptake by the team is very good, and this has streamlined communication to be faster and closer to the place where people need the answer (i.e. if someone needs help with an email ticket, a colleague is tagged in the ticket rather than chatted to in Google chat).

    One thing we can still improve is making sure meetings are well prepared beforehand with a clear purpose and agenda (which are also clearly communicated and read ahead of time). Colleagues have also requested that emails and tickets get a TL;DR statement up top and that thorough notes are left on tickets for colleagues who may be replying.

  2. Knowledge silos & organizing information. We focused on three areas: ensuring the team knows which tools to use for what/where info. is stored, ensuring new developments are shared between the two main business units, and streamlining IT requests.

    In order to share information we set up a company wiki on Notion before the trial, and this is being used, updated, and expanded daily. The wiki’s still being improved, and we’ve had plenty of trial and error moments (irreplaceable screenshots missing when a colleague left Expath), but it’s a living library that we’ll continue editing. Overall, we feel this area is running smoothly.

  3. Time management. This was the biggest area of potential gains while preparing for the trial, especially since each employee needed to somehow shave eight hours of work time a week! We again focused on three main areas: how to do Focus Work, maximizing how we use Google Calendar, and strategies for time blocking and prioritization.

    For example, we looked at the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritization and other methods like Pomodoro, Eat the Frog, Get Things Done, as well as this quiz to find which productivity method is best for you.

    Time management is an area the team has wholeheartedly embraced. To date we are not seeing employees regularly needing to do overtime hours; If they work an hour more one day, they are supposed to do an hour less in the next day or two. Team members describe their ‘aggressive use of Google Calendar’ and ‘aggressively carving out focus time’ — I think before the trial we all had good ideas about what time blocking meant, but often we were all too nice to ‘aggressively’ defend our valuable time. Managing time in a 4 Day Week means that team members are empowered to say no.

  4. Ownership to decide. The last focus area was helping the team understand when they can make decisions independently, especially when a key person is out of the office that day. We learned how to use a delegation board, made guidelines for prioritizing based on urgency and importance, and introduced a solutions framework to help team members work through problems more independently (or have solutions to propose to a manager for quicker approval). This part of the 4 Day Week is working very smoothly at Expath, although I think it was already a strong part of our company culture before the trial.

    We’ve definitely had a few moments when we still needed to call someone who was OOO that day for an urgent decision — but we’ve only had one emergency when someone had to come in on their day off, when our IT guy who’d installed a new electronic lock nobody could open, locking all our laptops away (sorry Chris!).

The Takeaway so Far

So far, so good for the 4 Day Week — we’ve been able to manage 100% of the work in 80% of the time (with 100% of the pay, of course!) and the team seems very happy. I know I am thrilled with my free Wednesdays! Business-wise we are satisfied that the trial isn’t negatively affecting our work results. We will be keeping a close eye on customer experience to make sure fluctuations are within normal ranges and not being negatively affected by the trial. And I’ll be happy to keep you posted on how things are developing over the next months! Check out our journey on LinkedIn.

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How To Do 4 Day Week

Tia Robinson

Time is free but it‘s priceless. It’s the ultimate luxury in life, the thing everyone wants more of. More personal time is the biggest, longest-lasting present that I can give my team — and myself — and to that end we decided to keep the 4 Day Week at Expath after having successfully completed the six-month pilot.

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Feedback or questions?
Write us at 4DW@expath.com