“Companies cannot grow and reach amazing valuations and new heights without their staff. It's time we as leaders start investing more in our staff, not just in wages, bonuses and equity, but with time, so they can use the rest of those things to build a life they love.”
We are about to embark on something pretty cool.
Later this month, simPRO will launch a four-day workweek–not four, ten-hour days, but a 32-hour workweek without reducing pay. I am excited to return emotional capital to our staff in the form of a flexible work environment. We want to give them back some of the success our company continues to see by providing a flexible work environment.
Now the four day week hasn’t always been a part of my vision for the company.
In fact, I have always been a pretty firm believer in everyone being in the office five days a week to support relationship-building and collaborative work. And work-life balance for everyone on our team has also been a priority as I lead our organisation. Deciding the best way to give work-life balance to every team member in ‘normal’ times isn’t easy. Then, add in a global pandemic with limitations for most things in life, and it becomes even harder.
So I’ll say what I think many of us, employees and job seekers alike, have been thinking over the past year and maybe even longer: It's not enough anymore to simply offer ping pong tables and free beer at the office and call that ‘work-life balance’. We must go further.
My team and I sat down months ago to consider what simPRO would do to respond to employees' expectations for a work environment and work-life balance when going to an office every day became impossible due to COVID-19.
After the open feedback we solicited from our employees at town halls and firesides (with lots of passionate discussions led by our awesome staff), the executives and I put our minds together again to decide how we’d adapt our work environment to meet our employees’ desire for more flexibility in work and life, and our desire to increase overall productivity.
Then Flex4 was born.
What is ‘Flex4’, you ask?
Launching on Valentine’s Day 2022, Flex4 is at its heart (no pun intended), the ability for our staff to build a flexible work environment that suits their personal needs, given that they continue to support our customers and their teammates and hit their personal business goals.
For some of our team, it’s a flat four day week with some days in office and some days at home. For some, it’s a blended approach with half days on Monday and Friday. Others have chosen a shorter day but will remain working five days a week. This allows them to head home early every day to pick up the kids and spend more time with them.
Our goal is not to have a hard and fast, one-size-fits-all rule. Instead, we want to allow enough flexibility to treat our staff like adults and support their journey through life, driven by the idea that we can optimise our time at work and achieve our business goals in a base 32-hour work week.
If you’ve read our mission statement, you know that our main business goal is to build a world where field service businesses can thrive. Yes, we do that through the products we develop. But more importantly, we deliver on our mission through the high level of service we give to our customers.
Globally, we support our customers with essentially 24/6 access to a real-live human being customer support either by chat or phone. This is very rare for a SaaS company, but we believe it’s crucial to best support our customers. We also have in-person onboarding where our implementation consultants train on-site at our customer’s office to show them how to most effectively use the software to grow their business.
We are not just in the business of helping field service businesses thrive. We form human-to-human relationships with the people who trust our team with their dreams.
We take great pride in that, and along with our amazing employees, it’s what has allowed us to reach the level of success we’ve seen up to this point.
So above all, we must maintain that level of customer service. In fact, I hope that we can do it better in 32-hours per week because we are overall more productive. But that’s why we’re starting with a trial.
Which leads us to the question: How are we going to measure all of this, and how will we know if it works?
There are ground rules I’ve laid out for our team for the four day working week trial:
- No negative impact on the customer. Our customer service sets us apart, and we survey customers regularly to hear about their experience with us. We must only improve our levels of service.
- No negative impact on our teammates. Everyone needs to pull their weight and work together to get work done efficiently and effectively.
- We must hit our business targets. This means we need to be clear about what everyone is accountable for, and we need to hold ourselves and each other accountable to those targets with reporting.
- We still need to spend time with each other in person (when possible and safe). Spending time with each other in person drives passion and creativity and encourages learning and important conversations.
While we are excited to lead the charge for the four day week in our industry with Flex4, the concept of the four day workweek is not new. It’s been trialed most recently with great success at Bolt in the U.S. and studied further with research led by the non-profit 4 Day Week Global.
Founded by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart after the successful pilot of a four day week at their own company, Perpetual Guardian, in 2019, 4 Day Week Global works with researchers from the Wellbeing Research Center at The University of Oxford to study and advocate for the four day workweek pilot.
In addition to the ground rules we’ve come up with, we’ve also partnered with 4 Day Week Global to study the impact and results of our four day week pilot on employee satisfaction and productivity. We’ve also donated an additional $50,000 to help fund further research and advocacy for the cause.
As simPRO has grown, raised capital and grown again, we have been searching for ways to return emotional capital to our most valuable asset, our people.
If we can get this balance right, I firmly believe we can reap the benefits of continuous business growth and provide the best possible platform for our people to grow, not just in their professional life but in their personal lives.
We hope you’ll follow us along for the journey as we learn how to implement the 32-hour workweek (hopefully succeed at it too) and, most importantly, contribute to the conversation on a four day workweek for all with our own success story.
And for those of you reading this who are considering applying for one of our many open roles across the globe, don’t worry; we still have ping pong tables and office happy hours, too.
About 4 Day Workweek
4 Day Week Global is a multinational coalition of businesspeople, academics, researchers and authors collaborating to make the productivity-focused flexible work model a reality. The coalition is driving the biggest change in work since the shift to a five-day week a century ago.
Founders, employers and employees can find out more about the 4 Day Week and the pilot program on their website.
simPRO is a customer-focused global SaaS business providing field service management solutions to trade and specialty contracting industries with over 400 employees and 200,000 users in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Led by CEO Sean Diljore and headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, simPRO’s cloud-based software is a comprehensive field service management solution that helps trades understand, operate and grow their business.
Want to know more about simPRO? Visit our website.