KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The four-day workweek continues to grow in popularity amongst East Tennessee businesses and organizations. The latest to take the dive into the shortened workweek waters is the nonprofit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee based on data gathered during a pilot session last year.
Chief Executive Officer Tyler Boldin says their organization is proud of its new policy that offers staff an option to work four days a week. While continuing to fulfill its mission of creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships to help children achieve their full potential, the nonprofit is now giving staff an optional four-day workweek.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee or BBBSETN has strived to create a flexible work environment for many years, placing high value on offering our staff the opportunity to work on a schedule that suits their personal needs,” Boldin said in an email to WATE 6 On Your Side. “Historically, staff have had flexibility during the workweek. The pandemic forced us to adopt remote work, which we found to be highly effective while allowing us to still provide our evidence-based, high-quality mentoring services to children and youth throughout East Tennessee.
“As we started to return to more in-office work, we realized that an even more flexible work environment would not only allow us efficiently continue provide our services, but also better meet the needs of our staff and their families,” he continued.
Boldin also shared that BBBSETN ran a pilot 4-day workweek for its entire organization from July to September of 2022, where staff chose to take either a Friday or Monday off for the duration of the pilot.
During this pilot, Boldin said key performance indicators or KPIs were chosen and tracked in order to determine the impact the new schedule would have on the program quality and efficiency. In addition, Boldin said they conducted staff surveys at the mid-point and end of the pilot last year to gauge how the schedule was impacting individuals.
“At the end of the pilot, we learned that while we maintained – and even increased in some cases – our KPIs,” he said. “Making the four-day workweek mandatory wasn’t meeting the needs of all of our staff, therefore, we decided to create an optional four-day workweek schedule with remote-work flexibility available to all of our full-time staff beginning in October 2022.”
In this model, staff have the choice of working their required hours (37.5) in either four or five days per week. Boldin said the majority of staff opt to work four days.
Boldin also shared that since moving to the optional four-day workweek, the benefits BBBSETN has seen more work-life balance, reduced commute time, and higher overall satisfaction among staff; plus, increased productivity, better staff retention, higher-quality candidates, and overhead cost savings for the agency.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee was founded in 1970 as “Big Brothers of Knoxville” and “Knoxville Big Sisters Program” before merging with other BBBS programs in East Tennessee in the 1990s and early 2000s to what it is today. BBBSETN is based in Knoxville and has offices in Kingsport, Tenn. and Bristol, Va.