The Seably marketplace for maritime training that offers highly innovative education courses for the shipping industry, is now working a four-day week. The trial is part of the most extensive pilot programme conducted by 4 Day Week Global, which now includes 150 companies worldwide.
Digital transformational company Seably prides itself on being an innovative company in its product development. This is why it has been exploring ways to work smarter, more productively and engagingly and has concluded that trialling a four-day week culture is the right way forward for them. The first phase began on 1 September and runs to 30 November 2022.
Seably says it is already seeing the benefits. Most employees are not working Fridays, except for the customer support teams, who changed their work pattern to increase the level of support to 24/7. During this trial period, Seably is closely monitoring how well it works for all its stakeholders and making any adjustments as needed.
The four-day week model is based on the 100:80:100™ principle – 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time in exchange for maintaining 100 per cent productivity. So it’s not just having a day off a week – it’s about delivering productivity, meeting customer service standards and meeting personal and team business goals and objectives.
The evidence from recent experiences shows that giving employees a day off without loss of pay is a good deal for both businesses and employees. Employees report much higher satisfaction and less burnout. Shorter hours are often associated with higher per-hour productivity. Work reorganisation, especially when workers can make changes, allows organisations to eliminate long meetings and make each hour in the workplace count. In addition to making up the productivity, companies can save on fewer sick days, better retention and an enhanced labour pool talent.
CEO of Seably, Andrea Lodolo (pictured), stated: “We firmly believe that as a digitally native company without physical assets, we must challenge the norm and lead in innovative ways to manage performance and service. It is widely acknowledged that diversity in thinking helps seed new ideas for success and break down barriers. This is why we have introduced the four-day week to Seably. Staying ahead requires daring innovation, courage and a personalised and contextualised approach.”
He continues, “When Henry Ford introduced the 40-hour, five-day working week across his North American automotive factories in 1926, giving employees an extra day off without a reduction in pay, other industry chiefs baulked. However, the visionary leader saw what was dismissed by others as radical as a way to increase productivity and create greater prosperity. Seably is proud to follow in his footsteps and, just like Ford, will enhance our service delivery to our customers, clients and stakeholders in the same way or even greater than before.”
With professors and researchers from Boston College in the USA and Cambridge University in the UK, the companies in the trial will contribute to the research being undertaken to evaluate the four-day week’s economic, social and environmental impacts.
Describing how the future of working will look at Seably, Andrea Lodolo explained: “We believe in the four-day week, where every staff member is scheduled to work Monday to Thursday. Friday is seen as part of the weekend unless it is critical for operational business reasons. For everything to run smoothly, there are guidelines to help everyone work as efficiently and practically as possible.”
Various studies and trials across the world, from Iceland to Japan, prove that people who work a four-day week are more focused and efficient at work and feel healthier, happier and less stressed. The benefits are far-reaching: increased productivity, greater engagement, improved morale, reduced risk of burnout, less absenteeism, boosted job satisfaction, aided recruitment, increased talent retention, better work-life balance and improved environmental sustainability.
This year in July, 70 UK organisations and 3,300 staff switched to the 100:80:100™ model and now, halfway through the six-month pilot, the teams are better rested, happier and more productive. All of these companies want to continue with a shorter work week indefinitely. Theo Krish, the co-founder of audio company Sounds Like These, says that now his company has experienced the benefits of a healthier work/life balance, “it would be pretty impossible to go back to normal”.
Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said: “The momentum behind the four-day week continues to build and this is borne out by the incredible response we have received from employers to our pilot programme. Increasingly, managers and executives are embracing a new model of work which focuses on the quality of outputs, not the quantity of hours. Workers have emerged from the pandemic with different expectations around what constitutes a healthy life/work balance.
Sometimes it takes a big disruptor to dislodge deeply embedded societal and cultural norms. That’s what we see with the traditional five-day week following the covid-induced flexible working revolution. Those who think we will turn the clock back to the way things were two years ago are engaged in ‘pie in the sky’ thinking – the four-day week is an idea whose time has come.”
Andrea Lodolo concluded: “Each staff member at Seably has been trained to learn how to work productively in a four-day week company. Each business unit conducted internal workshops to help inspire how we implemented it and has created a company culture that has embraced this new way of working.
“The results from the workshops were truly inspiring. The goal is to improve the quality of work life of each individual in our organisation and our customers. I hope this will be of keen interest to others, inside and outside the maritime sector and I look forward to helping others follow our lead.”