Medibank employees share update on four-day work week experiment
Around 10 weeks ago, 250 of our team mates officially commenced a Four Day Work Week experiment.
The experiment is based on the 100:80:100 model, whereby employees maintain 100% of their pay, reduce their working hours to 80%, while maintaining 100% productivity. We are calling this “The Gift”, as employees taking part in the trial will be provided the gift of time to do anything that brings them joy, in return for their efforts to remove low value work from their day and create capacity.
Prior to the experiment kicking off, there were overwhelming feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and a touch of nervousness as our teams set about changing the way they work.
Two months in, and early feedback from participants shows that planning as a team, being mindful of how to structure time between meetings and completing work asynchronously have been keys to some early wins.
Some of the changes implemented have included cutting unnecessary meetings, streamlining, and shortening other meetings, simplifying communications and using tools and technology to automate processes and free up time to focus on the work that adds value to customers.
Excitingly, the enthusiasm and buzz continues as our people improve the value of their outputs and free up time to focus on their health and wellbeing.
Having hit the two-month mark of the experiment, we asked some of the participants to share more about how things are going and how they’re challenging themselves to rethink how work gets done in order to be more productive.
Michael Davidse: Product Specialist – Financial Products Financial Products, Customer
“Being part of this experiment created a great deal of excitement for me and my family and a lot of envy among my friends. However, beyond the initial thrill, a slight nervousness emerged… how will I make this work?
“To make space for The Gift, I am being more mindful of how I allocate my time from Monday to Thursday. I've adjusted my communication methods, favouring Teams over emails and reduced the number of meetings in my calendar. I've encountered some challenges in working with internal and external stakeholders who are not part of the experiment, and in these situations, clear communication has been really important.
“As a team, we’ve significantly streamlined our weekly meeting schedule and shortened their duration. I had heard all the jokes about how many meetings there were and how many people were in them, but you don’t realise how real it is until you start culling unnecessary meetings from your schedule.
“It's been awesome having access to The Gift. I have used it for something different each time including working on university assignments, setting up a cat run for my fur babies, and taking advantage of the long weekend to duck up to Queensland.”
Ingrid Gotz Digital, Delivery & Compliance Lead ahm - Customer
“I was so excited by the opportunity to reimagine how we work and be part of this experiment. 10 weeks into it, and I am still a big fan!
“We’ve been challenging ourselves to work smarter and use our time more effectively, therefore creating the space and time to work on the things that matter most, provide added value and bring us more joy.
“For example, our digital team has created a tool that automatically lets team members know which development environments are available to use for testing.
"Previously, they would have needed to message each other, engage in back-and-forth chats, to understand the status and availability of those testing environments. The automation of this process means they can simply and easily see what’s available and that has saved so much time toing and froing over Slack for status updates.
“For me the hardest part of being in the experiment is reminding myself that I don’t have to constantly check-in while I am using The Gift day or do work if there isn’t an urgent need for it! I like getting things done and seeing things progress so my personal challenge is to apply the same guidance to myself that I give to my team!
“How am I using The Gift? I know this doesn’t sound too exciting, but I use the day to reset the house! Mess, washing, life admin all add up during the week. For me, if I have this under control (and I actually enjoy doing it), then I can spend the weekend doing the things that I want with my family. Plus I always go out to get myself a good coffee and drink it whilst its hot!”
Andrew Retschko: Hub Lead – Talent Engagement, Inclusion and Sustainability People, Spaces & Sustainability
“As a team, we knew we were going to need to do things differently for this to be a success. We’ve been looking at this in two ways; firstly, how we manage our time more efficiently and secondly, finding efficiencies in the way we work.
“Getting things rolling wasn’t as smooth as I thought, but my team and I are already experiencing some of the benefits. I have been able to spend extra time with my daughter as she gears up for primary school this year. I’ve also been able to get the weekend chores and jobs around the house such as landscaping out of the way during the week which has given back some weekend freedom.
“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the experiment.”