Working Smarter, Not Harder
Michelle Hinrichsen
April 4, 2024

At OCL, we have just kicked off a 6 month SMART Work Trial for Open Cities Lab where we, among other things, are implementing a 4-day work week! We hope you’ll follow along on the SMART Work journey with us as we learn, grow and change. Since this is a trial, we will share our progress and outcomes here on our blog in the future.

Innovation isn't just about technology; it's about reimagining how we work and supporting the diverse needs of our team members. That's why we're thrilled to share a little bit about our trial of the Smart Working model. By focusing on results rather than rigid office hours, our remote working has always empowered our team to work when and where they're most productive - whether it's from the comfort of home, an ambient café, or wherever productivity strikes. At OCL we use a combination of daily standup messages from individuals, fortnightly online team meetings, in-person hang outs and one-on-one calls to ensure that there is consistent engagement between team members.

In kicking off our 4-day work week we have significantly shifted our weekly cadence of meetings. Fitting our workload into 4 days also means growing pains (read: anxiety) as we learn new rhythms and maximise our days. But the overarching feedback so far is that the Friday off is superb! Some team members use it for learning new skills, others take a moment to catch their breath. The provision of an additional day for personal pursuits or professional development has significantly contributed to a sense of rejuvenation and morale boost among our workforce.

The SMART Work Trial is not just about the 4 day work week. SMART Work identifies five essential themes that are deemed crucial for creating or refining work environments. These themes are:

  1. Stimulating work tasks
  2. Opportunities for Mastery
  3. Agency in decision-making
  4. Fostering Relational connections
  5. Managing Tolerable Demands

Similar to the solid foundation ensuring the stability and resilience of a structure, the integration of these SMART Work themes forms a foundation to our organisational culture. By upholding these principles, we aim to adapt to the evolving demands of the modern workplace while fostering an environment that is conducive to sustained growth and innovation.

As we continue to navigate this transformative journey, we remain committed to sharing our insights and experiences with others. Stay tuned in the coming months for further updates and reflections as we explore the possibilities afforded by the SMART Work model and the 4-day work week.

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