Everyone at Vulcan Post Malaysia has largely been WFH for over a year (with a brief return to the office from June to October 2020), and this is now the norm for many other companies whose workforce. The work can operate remotely.
Commission Factory, an Australia-based affiliate marketing network, is one such company. But in addition to encouraging remote working, they have also been piloting a 4-day work week since December 2020 in their Malaysian office.
They have seen their revenue increase by 200% in the first quarter of 2021 since the introduction of this new work culture, along with reports of a happier workforce.
The 4-day work week is nothing new, with reports that a few companies around the world took it over around 2019 after Microsoft Japan announced it would practice it. However, we haven’t seen much of this trend in Malaysia so far.
So how does Commission Factory do it and is it replicable by other Malaysian companies?
1. This is not a compressed calendar
One of the drawbacks that is often brought up when mentioning a 4 day work week is that 5 work days are compressed into just 4 days.
This could lead to an overload of the employees. To avoid this, Emily, Marketing Manager at Commission Factory, told Vulcan Post that their 4-day work week instead means 28 hours of work over 4 days (instead of 35 hours of the same duration).
But doesn’t that mean less work is done overall? Well, maybe not, because on average it has been found that employees can lose 1-3 hours per 8 hour working day (excluding lunch and breaks). Thus, it is possible that the work can be done in less time by removing those overtime and wasted hours.
2. Staff can choose their own day off
“We don’t fix the days, but we alternate the staff days off between the different shifts, as most want on Monday or Friday. We have a turnover to make sure everyone has a Friday or Monday off, ”Emily said.
She added, “All assigned days are signed off by team leaders and updated in our teams calendar to provide visibility, and we have a buddy system when an individual is away so that one of the other team members can cover them for his day. “
The leave structure at Commission Factory also remains the same, as if the employees were working 5 days a week. At the same time, Commission Factory made sure to stress to employees that this decision would not mean a pay cut.
3. Give employees the right tools
To facilitate their new work culture, Commission Factory uses project management tools like Asana and Microsoft Planner to assign work and increase transparency and visibility, an approach that has also become common with the WFH and the work culture at distance.
At the same time, the team built an internal knowledge center that included Zoom recordings of meetings for employees to watch and catch up on, and constantly find more resources to help them.
4. Maintain fast and streamlined communication
At Commission Factory, teams don’t just deal with a 4-day work week. The company has teams in 15 countries, so time zones are another challenge to consider.
Emily gave an example of how they handle this. “To make this task easier within the advertisers team, for example, we use Microsoft Shifts, which lets team members know who’s in each day and allows the team member to copy to one. other member to cover a certain activity or task. “
“This is probably the hardest part, making sure that tasks are done by others when someone is away for a client. We are testing Teams and Asana to overcome this issue and, where possible, automate processes across the company. “
5. Eliminate inefficiencies in tasks
Because teams don’t do 5 days of work in a week, they had to find ways to use the time they had available more efficiently.
By offering solutions, they streamlined their ticketing system for their product team, reduced meeting times from 1 hour to 30 minutes typically, and avoided double task management.
Emily explained that the latter meant that one person would represent each team present at a meeting instead of the whole team being present.
6. Inform customers about the new work culture
For companies that serve customers, it can seem difficult to implement anything other than the standard 9-5 work culture, 5 days a week. Not to mention that some customers can be demanding, even on company days off.
Emily said Commission Factory made her change very clear to her clients while reassuring them. “We informed our customers with a video of our CEO explaining that this didn’t mean a reduction in service as well as regular catch-ups and scheduled meetings with customers directly.”
To maintain the quality of service, the Commission Factory teams, on the contrary, had to structure themselves and enhance their service by improving internal collaboration.
So far, this strategy has worked well, as Emily explained that some of their own clients have even reached out to the team directly to ask for help in launching similar initiatives themselves.
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Of course, employees can be happier, and in general, 4-day work weeks are touted to improve employee productivity and efficiency, but there must be appropriate measurable measures in place.
For its sales team, Commission Factory measures the number of meeting requests sent to contacts, the number of sales meetings and team-led presentations and, most importantly, the number of sales and revenue generated, and more. again.
Emily said that looking back on these metrics after introducing the 4-day workweek, they found that goals for all regions had more than doubled year-over-year, despite the reduction in work hours.
From what I can see, while this change in work culture is significant, it’s not as intimidating as it looks. Some Malaysian businesses may not be able to succeed with the same strategies, but trial and error can provide better solutions. After all, Commission Factory recognizes that it is still for them and that there will always be improvements to be made.
Will we then see more companies practicing 4-day work weeks? Maybe not in a wave, but with much of the workforce now more accustomed to remote work and WFH, it’s possible that we may see this concept eventually develop upon us.
- You can read more about Commission Factory here.
- You can read more work related articles here.
Featured Image Credit: Commission Factory
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