Hi, it’s Francine here, Chief of Staff at Eskwelabs. I love recreational activities that don’t involve a screen—like painting and jigsaw puzzles—and I am an avid birdwatcher. One thing I admire about birds is their effortless flight, working with the wind whenever they break free from stillness. Their strong wings give them the confidence to fly. To me, this is a perfect metaphor of how teams can flourish and thrive in the future of work when we provide them with the tools to succeed. Lab Notes is a joy to write because it’s ultimately a scrapbook of our efforts to be the wind beneath our team members’ wings, propelling them into success in the 21st century and beyond.
You can connect with me via LinkedIn here.
We believe in your busyness. So we’re going to share what we learned from our first 4 day work week trial in under five minutes. This is the ultimate high five! 👋
Instead of our usual Monday to Friday work week, we dedicated one day (Thursdays) to what we call the “Learning Day.” For four weeks in January, team members were excused from meetings, set aside non-Learning Day tasks to focus on their chosen learning projects, and spent the entire day reading, watching videos, taking online courses, designing, and writing.
Though this setup was not 100% perfect, given that there were some previously set recurring meetings that had snuck into the day. (This is something for us to iterate on for the next version of Learning Day). But what’s important here is crafting a structure that is relevant to our team and company.
We exist in the upskilling space and there is nothing more “edtech” than contextualising the 4 day work week in this way.
We chose six team members from our Education team, taking into consideration that for these individuals, January would be a quiet month in terms of client-specific learning sprints.
The beauty of testing the Learning Day with a smaller group of team members at the start is because of the amount of focus you can allot each team member’s learning day project and the entire Learning Day initiative itself.
When we presented this information upfront with the entire company, not only was it appreciated, but teams saw the thoughtfulness of having this experiment be contained before it would be fully rolled out.
Learning Days at our company are purposeful, meaning all the unique ways of studying (reading, watching, listening, practising, etc.) lead to the creation of a project. To lessen the mental load being carried by our six pilot testers, we designated two facilitators to serve as guides throughout the whole process.
One facilitator would serve as the educational foundation our pilot testers could rely on.
One facilitator would serve as the operational foundation our pilot testers could rely on.
New company initiatives need people to champion them to either make them something to be greatly excited about or so easily incorporated that these initiatives and activities become second nature for everyone. For our Learning Day experiment, we relied on the roles of the facilitators to keep our pilot team motivated and guided.
We experimented with prompts to keep things fun and light.
Here are a few examples of prompts we would chat in our Learning Day message threads on Discord:
Here’s a visualization of the pulse check we did with our six pilot testers last January 5, 2023—the week when we launched Learning Day.
This is the shortest section, because we hope that for you it would be the most natural. As an alternative to the 4 day work week, the Learning Day does require effort. But it reaps meaningful and fulfilling rewards.