4 Day Workweek: Pros and Cons

One year ago a company from New Zealand came with interesting experiment: Employees were working only 4 days in a week, 32 hours instead of 40 hours a week and they were paid the usual salary. According to the numbers from this study, the employees felt less stressed and their work-life balance improved. In addition, the job performance wasn’t affected by those missing hours, on the contrary it slightly improved. Interesting, isn’t it? Many companies are trying to attract new employees and this is one of the advantages they can offer so let’s look at pros and cons of 4 day workweek.

The fact that you work only 4 days a week doesn’t always mean that you work only 32 hours a week. In some countries the employees can choose between 5 days with 8 hours at work or only 4 days but with 10 hours at work. This system works mostly in the United States but in some European countries the workweek is a bit shorter. For example, in the Netherlands most of the people work only 29 hours a week, in Denmark and Norway the workweek has approx. 33 hours and in Ireland it’s 34 hours. In these countries the 4 day workweek is totally possible.

pros

Now let’s talk about the advantages of 4 day workweek. According to not only the New Zealand experiment but also to some other studies, the productivity during the working hours increase to compensate the missing day. Employees use their time much more effectively by spending less time on inefficient tasks or time wasters like social media. With less stress and higher work-life balance the satisfaction of employees grows, their motivation and creativity increases and they engage better at their work. Also because of the focus on collective goals and the emphasis on efficiency the cooperation in a team needs to be better and it can bring the whole team closer together.

CONS

What about the difficulties of 4 day week? The obvious risk for employers is, that workers won’t be able to fulfill their work tasks in shorter time and it will become very costly for the whole company. It can be also very stressful for employees to manage to fit 5 day work into 4 days. Also there are some industries which require a 24/7 presence and it is simply impossible for them to put 4 day week in practice. Another fact is, that majority of other people have to work 5 days a week and if you don’t have kids or family, the 5th day can be pretty lonely for you. That can also increase your guilt, because everyone else is actually working. Emails are still coming in, tasks are waiting to be done and you have this bad feeling that you are missing out. So you should rather find some activity, otherwise you will feel very lazy and unproductive.

It’s safe to say that 4 day workweek is not for everyone but if you think that it could actually work at your company, test it out for some limited period of time and you will see if you and your team are able to accomplish more by working less.

3 great things about having an international Virtual Assistant

Multitasking and everyday routine could be a real problem for many companies from online shops to brick-and-mortar businesses. Especially growing companies should have a higher focus on their strategic goals and not waste their resources into every day business operations. To level up your business and become a winner in the highly competitive environment, you should definitely consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to outsource part of your daily tasks.

We are ready to share 3 great things about hiring international Virtual Assistant with you:

1. Boost the productivity of your team

Don’t let your team  burn out of routine work.  If you outsource some monotonous and time-consuming tasks to your Virtual Assistant, you will save your existing staff from over hours and will avoid hiring extra in-house employees.

2. Build an international team and have a global footprint

With international Virtual Assistant you can expand your business and create an international network of employees. Moreover, you will find out new creative solutions and excel your multicultural awareness. Virtual Assistant allows scaling your business throughout the world in the most affordable way.

3. Hire less staff and reduce costs

To have an international Virtual Assistant means to choose a specialist among a great variety of remote workers all over the world. You can find a well-educated freelance employee or outsource a part of your tasks to a consulting company. Whichever you choose,   there is an obvious benefit of saving money by making a “result based” contract and reducing costs on the office equipment for additional employees.

Assuming foregoing we can conclude, that hiring international Virtual Assistant is a very effective solution for small and medium-sized companies. There are certain risks in delegating your duties, but if you find the right employee or company, you will enjoy the advantages of Virtual Assistant and get a return on investment faster than you expected.

Before you make a brave decision to contract out, consider reading some more insights on outsourcing that Katrium team prepared for you.

What to do if customers do not buy?

pexels-photo-355988.jpegLet’s imagine a situation where Company A asks an offer from Company B for their services. Company B sends their best possible offer to Company A, but eventually they decide to buy the service that they need from Company C. How often has this happened to you and what did you do?

In this kind of situation you can either leave it or you can take a look at the whole picture and ask yourself where did you possibly go wrong. One option is to ask Company A why they chose to buy from someone else instead. Clearing this out will help you to improve your business and maybe even make Company A return when they notice that you care about your customers’ opinions. So, how do you make such enquiries politely and without getting the other party’s guard up? Here’s how:

WHY?

Customers are the ones who bring you the profit, not you or your staff. Understanding customers’ needs is essential – not just because they bring the money to the company – but also because it gives you an advantage over your competitors. No one else knows better than customers themselves what they want. And who ever does the best job in listening to their customers wins the market share.

Talking to and thanking customers who bought something from you is important, but asking “why” from the ones who did not buy from you should be at least at the same level. It could be that they did not like the product, price, selection, customer service or maybe you did not interact with them enough. There are a million different reasons, but you cannot know for sure unless you ask. Assuming that one of the aforementioned issues was probably the reason why they did not buy sends potential customers straight to your competitors’ door.

By asking the customers “could you please elaborate what was the reason that made you go for our competitor’s offer instead of us” will help you to meet customers’ needs and improve your own business. Of course, asking ten customers, who decided to not buy from you, and getting ten different answers will not lead anywhere, but if four or six out of the ten customers name the same issue, maybe you should take a look at that particular aspect of your business/offer and think what you could do differently, better. The more satisfied your customers are with your services and products, the more likely it is that they become your loyal customers and recommend you to their colleagues and partners.

SOLUTION

So, how should you ask this easy question from the customers who chose to go with the third option instead of your offer? The answer is easy; by asking them for feedback. But this takes time and effort. Also; you need to know how to ask the right questions. You do not want to waste your own or the customers’ time with irrelevant questions, which do not provide you with any further information, and thus risk the chance of getting any responses at all. A good option would be to outsource the feedback process to an external survey company that has the resources to create a survey with relevant questions that fit your company’s needs and make the interviews to the customers who slipped away from you.

Here are the two best ways to gather feedback:.

You could create your own online survey. Creating an online survey is an easy option for you to set up and analyze, and it gives a chance to the current as well as potential customers to decide when they want/can answer. The survey could be sent to them by email or you can set it up into your website where everyone can complete it whenever they want to give you feedback or explain what qualities they look for in a cooperation partner.

But if you want to ensure a larger number of answers and to reach people directly then phone interviews are a better option. Making a phone call to your customers has higher survey response rate than online surveys, and what would be a better way to find out what your current customers as well as the lost customers think about your company and your ways of doing things than by talking to them? Also, human contact affects how the survey questions are answered and makes the respondents trust you. On the phone you can ask follow-up questions from the respondents, which helps you to get a better overview of their thoughts and ideas. That way you get more detailed responses which can help you to have a clearer idea of how you are doing as a company.

However, all of us know that most of companies do not have enough time to call all the customers that chose to go for another company’s offer instead of yours and sit all day on the phone asking questions. This is the point when research and consulting company steps in and asks the questions for you. Outsourcing the service to specialist in this field saves you time and gives you high quality analyses. All you need to do is to let the specialists do the work for you.