Gaining control over my working time with the Alternative Work Week
- Posted on March 4, 2021
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
When I first heard about Avanade’s Alternative Work Week (AWW) – a pilot program allowing a select group of employees to formally work their contracted hours in fewer days – I was immediate intrigued. I’m always open to things that bring about change, and this seemed like something that could move us toward a smarter working model.
I was told the goal isn’t to compress your week, but to increase efficiency and be intentional with your time to allow for more flexibility. With that in mind, I chose to work nine hours Monday through Thursday and then only work four hours every Friday with the afternoon off. Through this pattern, I hoped to gain more personal time, increase my own efficiency at work and ultimately have less stress in my life.
I was lucky that my manager is the first AWW sponsor within the Avanade Studios. She pushed us to rearrange our calendars to accommodate our new working patterns. This support of leadership made it easier to embrace this new mode of working. Clients were supportive too. The first time I explained to my team that I wasn’t available on a Friday afternoon because of my AWW schedule, a woman on my client team said, “Cool, that demonstrates how innovative Avanade is. We will probably have to wait another 10 years to be able to do something like that.”
That said, things weren’t always perfect. One client workshop couldn’t be moved from a Friday afternoon, and so then I was flexible. Sometimes an email would come through that I really felt it was pertinent to respond to. It took some colleagues a bit to get used to the idea of me holding my boundary, but all change requires adjustment in the beginning.
By the end of the program, everyone on my team knew everyone else’s working patterns and we respected them. I learned that I have control over my working time. The program helped me become more conscious of the time I have available and to create prioritizations every working day. At the beginning of the pandemic, I used to join every meeting I was invited to – often meaning my real work was pushed off. Now I am better at saying no to things that don’t make the best use of my time. And I’ve grown more respectful of my colleagues’ time too – this is so important if we want to create an ideal working environment.
The AWW helped me achieve the goals I set at the beginning of the pilot. For anyone out there considering an alternative working schedule, my advice is this: Don’t be afraid of the change. You will still deliver great work, and you’ll do it with more focus and respect for yourself and your team. And don’t be shy – be clear about your boundaries so that you can make the most of this.