At SOAX, our team comes first. We continuously explore ways to nurture its growth while enhancing productivity and being as efficient as possible in a shorter amount of time.
Remote-first since our founding, we cherish working smarter with innovative tools and a tech-charged workspace that amplifies productivity to experiment with forward-thinking policies.
Our latest pilot? Six months ago we experimentally introduced A 4-day, focusing on working smarter rather than longer, all while advocating for the 100-80-100™ model – 100% of the pay, 80% of the time, but critically in exchange for 100% of the productivity.
In this model, employees gain time to focus on game-changing ideas that get sacrificed in the scramble of a 5-day grind. The remaining day becomes an opportunity to enhance productivity and brainstorm innovations.
We knew that this was uncharted territory for most companies. However, our research showed the benefits are too promising to ignore - that is improved productivity, effectiveness, and employee involvement.
We crafted a thoughtful 6-month pilot to test driving a 4-day workweek. What was our goal? Enable our team to produce their best work, driving collaborative tooling, AI productivity enhancers, and automated workflows that enable us to accomplish more in less time in the charged workspace of the future.
Our small experiment helped catalyze workplace progress, we couldn’t be prouder. Want to know more? Let’s dive in!
Our remote-first commitment
SOAX is a remote-first organization. Our journey has never been about setting up offices, and we don't anticipate altering that course. We've embraced a global perspective, casting aside geographical constraints and preferences in our quest for worldwide talent.
Our team members aren't tethered to any single location; they have the liberty to explore the globe while contributing their expertise to SOAX's perspective.
From day one, we've nurtured an asynchronous work environment for our team, reflecting our belief in the workspace of the future with the integration of creativity, efficiency, and progress.
Above all, we foster a culture of autonomy and inquisitiveness. While pioneering this remote-first commitment, our key goal is to empower our team with space for their vision.
Once we started this transformation journey, there was no turning back. We've come to realize that the old workplace conventions were nothing more than routines, not necessities. Our culture was primed for a natural evolution.
The path to a 4-day week
When the 4-day workweek concept arose, we already mastered remote collaboration. Still, enacting this pilot required thoughtful planning.
We conducted a survey to gauge team interest. Over 80% expressed enthusiasm to try it out. However, adapting to the 100-80-100™ model was uncharted territory. Concerns around maintaining output arose.
Our leadership analyzed workloads, priorities, and capacity to shape a balanced 4-day pilot:
Mapped project timelines, upcoming launches, and all-hands events across teams. Planned lighter weeks for the pilot launch.
Ensured adequate coverage for customer-facing roles by staggering 4-day schedules across groups.
Set aspirational individual/team output targets for priority projects. Monitored energy levels.
Taking into account all the above we finally rolled out the pilot company-wide. The team bubbled with excitement - this felt like a fresh start!
Embracing asynchronous communication
With video calls eating into productivity, we took action. An audit revealed most meetings lacked clear goals. Or covered topics better discussed asynchronously.
We instituted No Meeting Fridays. Team-wide changes took time, but we reduced meetings by 10% in a month.
Scheduled sync-ups now start with a clear objective. We ask ourselves - can this be an email? Slack thread? Shared doc?
Results? More uninterrupted focus time. Meetings became purposeful conversations instead of passive reporting.
Our learnings paved the way for further flexibility experiments. We already trusted our team to work productively with less supervision.
Working smarter with innovative tools
While implementing a shortened workweek was a positive move for team well-being, it was vital to acknowledge that employees would have less time to achieve the same goals.
So, the fundamental message behind the 4-day workweek initiative was to explore technology-driven frontiers that strike a balance between automation and human creativity.
Consequently, it was imperative that we equipped our employees with the necessary tools to enhance their efficiency with one less workday.
Now even small, repetitive tasks could become more time-efficient and contribute to overall productivity.
Processes that incorporate automated workflows and AI productivity bot-assistants - we are shaping the workspace of the future.
Results? The fusion of groundbreaking technology with a productivity-centered approach leads to more empowered teams, consequently resulting in substantial gains in productivity, and a stimulated workforce willing to invest their all in their roles.
Three-month checkpoint: reflections and wins
Our 4-day workweek pilot has been an exciting rollercoaster. How’s the team feeling after 3 months of shortened workweeks?
71% reported substantially higher satisfaction with work-life balance. The extra day provides a mental refresh and lets people maintain their health, hobbies, and relationships.
Social interactions at work
76.3% of SOAXers admitted that teamwork hasn't gotten worse with fewer working days.
63% improved time management skills like prioritizing ruthlessly, blocking distraction-free time, and optimizing meetings. Cramming 5 days of work into 4 forced efficiencies.
49% of SOAXers assess that changes in their workload are more likely positive, and 25% manage to get even more work done. 💪
Quality of work
Provided with the right tools to do their job as efficiently as possible 40.7% of the SOAXers saw an improvement in the quality of work.
Across teams, output has remained steady or improved slightly from pre-pilot levels, proving a 4-day week doesn’t necessitate productivity losses.
94.7% of SOAXers saw the benefits and have enthusiastically embraced this new workstyle. There were still improvements to make but we were committed to putting our people first.
Six months in key learnings and what's next
Our 6-month 4-day workweek pilot concluded a few days ago. Did it live up to its promise for our distributed team?
Output across teams held steady or improved over the pilot duration. 36% of SOAXers assess that changes in their workload are more likely positive, and 44% manage to get even more work done 💪
“I can take a break (stop programming) and just think about current solutions for problems. Several times it helped me to find something better”
“A 4-day week makes us think deeper about the ways we do the job. It's kinda like an artificial constraint which forces us to do things no one did before and transform the processes.”
80% reported lower stress. Many adopted new health habits and hobbies.
“The additional time I have to recover helps me to be more focused and more energized during the week which impacts greatly on the work that needs to be done.”
Social interactions at work
86% of SOAXers admitted that teamwork hasn't gotten worse with fewer working days.
98% want to continue with a 4-day week permanently based on the impact on work-life balance, and health.
Working on Fridays
Yes, some employees still ended up working on Fridays.
“I find that using 4DWW makes me feel better. Although I sometimes work on Fridays, it's mostly my choice. This is convenient in order to make Friday a day without meetings and focus on important and non-urgent matters.”
1. Refined asynchronous practices are essential - documentation, issues tracking, and knowledge sharing. This prevented work from spilling into off days.
2. Capacity planning and coverage systems like alternating 4-day schedules were key to smooth operations.
3. Activities like strategic thinking and creativity happen more naturally with extra downtime.
4. Strong trust, an empowered culture, and a lack of micromanagement enabled success. We support our team’s ability to manage their own work.
5. Adopting a 4-day week requires continuous experimentation, feedback loops, and a growth mindset. It is a gradual progress over rapid transformation.
Tips, tricks, or lifehacks from SOAXers
We’ve made it through six months and share thoughts from across the team:
Сontrol the number of meetings
“Do not attend the calls where no decisions should be made, except standups and key project syncs. Plan your non-routine activities ahead and book a calendar for yourself.”
“Book some time in the calendar to manage important tasks, have a structured plan for the day and track the progress, highlight some wins for personal things and for the team + Pomodoro technique.”
Divide work by type
“The first half of the week I spend on cognitive activity, the second one on routine stuff like coding, etc.”
Rest and hobbies during the 3-day weekend
“Three days off allow you to devote time to yourself and your hobbies. In my opinion, it is very beneficial for mental health.”
A glimpse of the working future
Due to the resounding success of the experiment, we have permanently adopted the 4-day workweek model.
With his enduring shift, we were fostered in a work environment where creativity thrives and where people accomplish more in four focused days than previously possible in five.
Of course, we will keep optimizing - gathering feedback, refining capacity planning, and monitoring for any issues boosting the workspace of the future as we envision it.
We hope our learnings will provide insights to other companies exploring shortened workweeks. Feel free to reach out and hear more about our transition.
Success is when our team feels empowered to do meaningful work on their own terms and not be chained to outdated norms.🚀
If you crave an opportunity to make a real difference, we're now hiring across departments. Let's evolve together!