We had the discussion with the team where Alistair pitched the 4 day week concept. I say ‘pitched’ but he was very careful not to be ‘salesy’. He presented to the team on the Andrew Barnes model of the 4 day week – what the challenges were, what the benefits were.
And there are a lot of benefits. I loved the team’s reaction. We’ve been working as a team around this concept of being able to have really great discussions – robust debates – around things without any fear or any sense of things being taken personally. And I really felt like we got there on this one. So there were a tonne of really good questions. There were things that I hadn’t even thought about as needing to be done or needing to be thought through. One of the things that I really loved, and this had come out in previous discussions as well, but the really clear message from our team was, yep, that idea of a 4 day week, love it. What they weren’t willing to sacrifice was the connectivity within our team. They weren’t willing to give up the flexibility, or the sense of being able to take a little bit of time out of each workday to have a chat in the lunchroom or to just shoot the breeze together when they’ve got those five minutes to spare. Their sense was that if we have to give that up, then we’d rather work our five days, so that we can actually connect with each other. And I love that. I love how powerful that is as a sign of the culture that we have and the strong team bond and connectivity that we’ve got.
It doesn’t mean that we can’t do the 4DW and still achieve that connectivity, I’ve got a pretty strong faith that we can do that.
The other thing that I found came through really clearly, and this is both a positive and a negative, was that the team recognised that I would be the biggest blocker to it. And by blocker not as in that I didn’t want to do it. But as in that I was the most likely to not be able to achieve it. Alistair’s words for it is that I might not be a good candidate, which is absolutely true. But the feeling that I got from the team was not one of accusation or anything negative, any negative sense towards me. If anything, there was a sense of realism and I felt like they were also being protective of knowing that I would be most likely to forego day five or forego the flexibility, because I simply can’t help myself but to dive in and get things done when they need to get done. So like I said it’s a positive, I really appreciated that the team was aware of it, and that I got a sense that they were protective over it, or over me. It was also a negative because it’s not necessarily the reputation that I want to have, it’s also not necessarily the right way to be conducive to the 4 day week. It means that if we really want to do this and we really want to be able to do a 4 day week and as a team, I need to change some of my behaviours, and that will have a flow on effect to other people in the team because if I’m changing my behaviours, it may well put different expectations on other people in the team as well. So I think that will be one of the challenges for me, but also for the rest of the team because it will mean adjustments.