Virginia Quiambao Arroyo and Amanda Roberts are co-founders of Avid Core, Inc, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small, Woman, and Minority-owned (SWaM)-certified communications firm based out of Woodbridge, Virginia.
As a “people first” company, Avid Core consistently tries to explore ways through which to improve transparency in the things we do—both in terms of our clients and our team.
Our approach to hiring, for example, reflects the understanding that job searching can be both stressful and time-consuming. Consequently, Avid Core’s growth is bolstered by our respect for a candidate’s time, energy, and the effort that goes into applying for a job.
Accordingly, we continue to evaluate flexible and non-traditional work arrangements, emphasizing results-based work—which is why we launched the option for a 32-hour workweek late last year.
If a team member is providing their project deliverables on time, consistently meeting or exceeding expectations, we feel that there should be no need to work an arbitrary amount of time (like 40 hours a week). While there are always improvements to be made in terms of the work/life balance across all staff levels, the results-based approach encourages an increased and consistent balance, a more comfortable repartee, and reflects our commitment to our employees as people first.
Through recurring anonymous surveys—which we use to gather feedback from staff and get an idea of their routines, progress, and challenges—we have observed a consistently high satisfaction rate with the four-day workweek.
Staff has repeatedly pointed out that the flexibility offered by this option helps people focus on their mental health, with one team member reflecting, “I’m so grateful we’re allowing people to prioritize their needs and find a work/life balance…the people I tell are amazed that our company would even give us [this option].”
Another team member shared that the four-day workweek “helped…tremendously in the last couple of weeks with personal family matters and appointments.”
Since Avid Core’s inception three years ago, we have strived to create a company that we would want to work for. And a solid work/like balance is a major part of that. With the option to work a four-day week, there’s an opportunity for staff to personalize their schedules. An extra day off can provide more time to pursue a hobby, run errands, or catch up on a favorite show.
Staff members aren’t expected to be on call on their day off, although they may be pinged if there is an urgent matter or request from a client (for example, staff have been willing to pop in on calls during their days off to fulfill a last-minute need or request).
Additionally, people have been good about making the process work on the whole, without increasing the burden on us by requesting fill-in support.
As with any initiative, some expectations were set early on; it was made clear that the four-day workweek was contingent on an individual’s ability to consistently meet important deadlines and provide high quality deliverables.
We never want our internal initiatives to impact Avid Core’s responsiveness and service. To that end, days off on the four-day workweek option are tiered off, so that we can still provide our services five days a week (this simply means that some staff members are off on Mondays, while others are off on Fridays).
In the end, this fits into our core belief about responding to our team as individuals and acknowledging their different needs. Asynchronous work allows members of the Avid Core team to make adjustments as they see fit, successfully operating on their own unique schedules.
These factors make up the basis of our decision to offer a four-day workweek—it’s another way to help our employees prioritize their well-being, mental health, and support their work/life balance.
This option is a continuous experiment—as we assess the financial impacts of this approach, and as we take on new clients and projects, it might become too difficult a practice to maintain, especially with contracts that necessitate full-time employees. In the meantime, however, the four-day workweek has proven to be a good fit for several of our team members.
As our staff continues to grow—we recently added three new colleagues to our team—things may change. In the long term, though, initiatives like this represent crucial steps toward greater employee satisfaction and, simultaneously, stronger results and deliverables for our clients.