Summer is almost coming to an end. Schools have started up again and most people have returned to work by now. If you were able to enjoy some time off, I hope it did you well. What I’m also wondering is: did you need it?
I certainly did! So much so that I took an extended vacation this year. The last three summers I continued working throughout most of the vacation period. The little free time I had, I spent on finishing up the renovation of my house. This time, I wanted to do it differently. I wanted to use my summer to fully recharge. To spend time with my neglected family and friends. To truly enjoy my new home and garden.
This summer, time turned out to be very valuable to me. This is because I felt I didn’t have enough of it over the past few years. I love my job as CPO and love to work, but I’m better at it when I’m well-rested. I’m better at it when I have a solid balance between my work, my family and friends, and myself.
The differences between generations
I think many people of my generation (X) and the baby boomers before that, are used to working long hours and having relatively little time to themselves. For the longest time, there has been a mentality that your work defines your worth. Spending most of your time at work would make you feel seen and would get you somewhere in life.
I have come to realize that there is more to life than just having a career. Additionally, I believe you can have a career ánd have healthy working hours. In the end, it’s not about the number of hours you work. It’s about what you contribute, isn’t it? Quality over quantity.
Millennials seem to get this and Gen Z certainly does. Hence their hunger for traveling, working part-time, and enjoying the “now” instead of focusing on life after retirement - like my generation is doing. Look at the latest trending concept on Tiktok: quiet quitting. It’s a movement by young workers to solely focus on the actual demands of a job. They are quitting the idea of putting in extra hours and taking on additional projects. This is because they no longer accept the lack of recognition and compensation they’ve been receiving for it. The focus has shifted to self-preservation and work-life balance.
The advancement of Tech
These differences in generational mentalities and desires are strongly related to the advancement of technology. The pace of work is rapidly increasing. Even though a lot of processes have been automated, we still deal with extreme amounts of information nowadays and have to make more decisions than we used to. All of this requires more energy and focus. Short periods of multi-tasking can be energizing, but when there’s an overload for a longer time and we are unable to control the pace, it will burn us out. In today’s world, there’s a greater need for detaching from work to recharge and preserve our well-being.
So how can it be that in a world full of innovation, we are still dealing with a work structure that hasn’t evolved since the early 1900s when factory work was the norm?
Enjoying the ride
At Visma Nmbrs, we have developed our working culture around the concept of enjoying the ride. This will always be our number one priority. This is our journey. Us. Happy, rested, focused, and energized. We’ve always been progressive when it comes to organizing our people and the way we work. We are always looking into and testing the latest organizational models and trends. For example, we started working agile and without managers almost a decade ago. Those decisions might have felt wild at the time, but we have been incredibly happy with the results.
Right now, we believe that there’s a need for another change in our workplace. At Visma Nmbrs, we want to be proactive and continue to maintain the happiness and (mental) health of our colleagues. However, it’s not only about well-being. It’s about responsibility as well. We strongly believe that corporations cannot claim all the time of their people anymore. We should also create space for individuals to spend time with their kids, take care of the sick and elderly, and help out in the community or at non-profit organizations. Our planet, our healthcare system, and our social system are under immense pressure and we see it as our role as an employer to share this responsibility.
Working four days, no strings attached
We need to rethink our working hours and workweeks. Over the last few years, several companies have experimented with the 4-day workweek approach and the results are very promising. At Visma Nmbrs, we are joining this movement! Not only do we believe this work structure will maintain the well-being of our people, but there’s a big chance it will also increase our focus, creativity and productivity. Ultimately, we want to continue to grow in a healthy and sustainable way.
As of the 1st of September, we are collectively taking Fridays off. Without a pay cut or additional hours per day. Since this will be a big change, we are starting with a pilot. For the rest of 2022, we are testing this new work structure. This period allows us to understand what we need to set up and change before implementing this new structure “officially”.
Even though the majority of our company will be off on Fridays, we will, of course, continue to support our customers 5-days a week!
Follow our journey
At Visma Nmbrs, we strongly believe we can make this work. Finding flow, effectively working together, and taking accountability - this is all embedded in our DNA as an agile organization.
Lastly, as a payroll and HR software company, we want and need to be able to support these new structures in our product. What better way than to try it out ourselves first?
Follow us if you want to know more about our 4-day workweek approach and the effects!