XWiki SAS is experimenting with a 4-day work week, with one day off every two weeks

24 Feb 2022 5 min read

Written by

Silvia Macovei

, Head of Cloud Business

Implementing the four-day work weeks

As you have probably noticed, four-day workweeks gained momentum this year, with companies of all sizes thinking about implementing them across the globe, in different industries. The idea is gaining traction even for whole countries. Belgium will now offer employees the opportunity to work a four-day week. Iceland also tested a similar model from 2015 and 2019, with 86% of employees now having the right to a four-day week.

TL;DR At XWiki, we have always enjoyed experimenting with new ways of working, particularly when they have the potential to lead to a happier and more engaged team. Starting this month, we have decided to implement an extra day off every other week through 2022. We spent December and January looking at the logistics and consulting with the team. Our ultimate goal will be to transition towards the 4 day work week over the following years.

Why we are doing it

We have been a remote-first organization for over 15 years now. This means our team members decide where they feel most comfortable to do their best work. That place could be one of our offices, traveling, or it could be the comfort of our home. We are all equipped with laptops and can easily access our remote office. Since we develop collaboration tools and there are also many great Open Source tools we can use daily, it does not make sense for us to be tied to one physical place to do our jobs.

We have never been fans of the 9-to-5 either. And following two years of Covid, having a flexible schedule remains essential to our team. We make sure to cover a few core hours every day, making ourselves available for meetings when necessary. The remaining time is planned around our life. Some of our colleagues prefer to get a head start - they get to work bright and early, finding it easier to focus. Night owls see their energy peak late afternoon, so they will typically start much later in the day.

While outputs are aligned with our objectives, we do not obsess over where or when we do the work.

What we are hoping to achieve

However, with all of this having been said, we are aware that burnout is a real issue, particularly with the Covid pandemic. According to Indeed, "more than half (52%) of respondents are feeling burned out, and more than two-thirds (67%) believe the feeling has worsened throughout the pandemic". Assuming this does not affect or concern us, would be naive at best and uncaring at worst. So we wanted to keep addressing this challenge in different ways. 

So through 2022, we will be taking a day off every two weeks starting February. We thought about taking Fridays off, but our clients need to be covered through all five days. Thus we are not deciding on a particular day. We trust each team to use their best judgment to plan the days off in a balanced way that allows us to continue servicing our clients without disruptions. We will also be doing a team retrospective and survey mid-year to collect and discuss lessons learned, then draw our final conclusions on how things worked towards the end of the year.

Now, do we think this will magically make burnout go away? Of course not. And to anyone thinking extra days off are enough, please think again. True well-being is also about having a reasonable workload, a respectful environment where you can thrive and find meaning, but it's also different in many ways for each of us. There's no one-size-fits-all solution.
For me, this means finding time for reading and learning, so this is what I'll be mostly spending these days on.

Join us

With this change and new projects coming our way, we are looking to grow our team. If you are interested in joining us or know someone who would like to help us build Open Source tools for knowledge management, please drop us a line or apply directly here

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