The pandemic changed a lot of things, but one of the most notable changes is how people think about work. The days of the 9-5 schedule where everyone works in the office without any flexibility are over. Now, hybrid and remote positions and flexible hours are everywhere, and it is only becoming more common. One of the companies to truly embrace this is Sensat, a digital twin technology firm.
Sensat has gone so far as to develop its own hybrid work policy, which is designed to maintain and even enhance productivity while pulling back to a 4-day workweek. But the company is not just cramming five days of work into four.
Sophie Martin, Senior People Partner at Sensat, said, “We don’t believe that time spent equals value created. We believe that the compounding effects of wellbeing, inspiration and reflection, combined with clearer prioritisation can create a virtuous cycle that sets Sensat apart, generating significant momentum and helping us to achieve our ambitious mission.”
That is what Sensat hoped to achieve with the switch to a 4-day week, but the shift did not happen overnight. The process required everyone at the company to delve into their day-to-day, doing things like shortening meeting times or adjusting them to occur less often where they could.
The result is that employees at Sensat have Fridays free, with those days belonging entirely to them. They can choose to do whatever they want, including work, but they cannot expect other members to do the same or respond to messages.
Of course, there are still some things Sensat has to pay attention to since it deals with others that operate within the traditional workweek. That is why the customer team always has someone keeping an eye on the necessary channels to handle requests as needed.
With Sensat being one of the first UK companies to embrace the 4-day workweek, it has worked hard to find the balance between productive work and employee wellbeing. And part of the reason it works is that the right tools and social events are sprinkled in to keep things running smoothly.
According to Sophie, the team stays connected through Slack, which is not only used as a work tool. It is also used for “water cooler conversations” at a distance. Various events including coffee buddy pairings, happy hours, life drawings, quizzes, and more also help keep teams in touch.
Additionally, there are in-person social events that satisfy the need for face-to-face communications. And it is all supposed by a budget provided by Sensat, which promotes team freedom while encouraging employees to come together in whatever way works best for them.
Freedom and flexibility are not offered blindly, though. Sensat is just as focused on providing the tools and opportunities needed for teams to enjoy the benefits without sacrificing productivity. One example is encouraging “focus time” for employees to get work done and blocking out time using Google Calendars for meetings and vital tasks.
Moreover, many things are still done in person. “We do not underestimate the power of in-person collaboration – some things are better done in person, onboarding being one, so on someone’s first day, we make sure that their team is in the office to welcome them,” said Sophie.
While in-person collaboration is still necessary, Sensat has shown just how effective freedom and flexibility can be. In fact, it has been so successful that Sensat has scaled since implementing the changes, achieving 200% growth over the last two years. They have even managed to secure an attrition rate of less than 10%, despite a high demand for the company’s skilled professionals.