Signifyd’s annual wellness month included some familiar sights and activities. Physical, mental and overall well-being were supported through flu shots, a dash of COVID vaccines, competitive Signifyers working to outdo each other during our step challenge, educational presentations and discussions supporting mental health and financial wellbeing, as well as opportunities to do some good by volunteering and giving back to the community.
But wellness month 2022 had a new twist, too. September marked six months since Signifyd’s move to a four-day workweek — the company’s most ambitious wellness initiative in the company’s 11-year history. We use data to drive all of our decisions for our customers and employees alike and the initial results are in.
Six months into disrupting the industry standard workweek, we are finding happier employees, an increase in job applications from highly qualified candidates and no drop in customer satisfaction.
Four-day workweek keeps Signifyd at the top among competitors
“The most surprising thing about the move to a four-day work week was that, honestly, there were no major surprises,” said Emily Mikailli, Signifyd senior vice president of people operations. “ We took our time, obsessed over the details, and trusted our team, and ultimately we’re pleased to say that the results have been exactly what we had hoped — a more engaged, creative, innovative and refreshed team that brings their best every day and the business results to match that.”
Signifyd employees say they feel more supported, more productive and better able to manage responsibilities outside of work thanks to the four-day schedule, which started in March. When asked in the latest employee survey whether they believed Signifyd supports their mental health, 92% of employees answered in the affirmative — an increase of 8% from the previous year. Only 2% of employees disagreed with the statement that a shortened workweek was improving their productivity and 99% agreed with the notion that Signifyd allows employees to balance their work and personal lives.
Four-day workweek thrives on trust and flexibility
“The way you treat and manage your employees is reflected in the way they view their relationship to the company and their job,” Mikailli said. “A high degree of flexibility and trust results in your employees being flexible and trustworthy with the work that they do and exercising ownership in their judgment around what is necessary to make the company successful. This applies to remote work, flexible work hours, and things like a four-day workweek, all of which we provide at Signifyd, and which we see reflected in the incredible work our employees do for us every day.”
In response to an open question on the survey, employees noted that they’ve been spending more time with their loved ones, boosting their physical activity, taking on household projects and using some of their free time to think bigger work-related thoughts and better plan their weeks at work.
The benefit has also attracted high-quality applicants in higher numbers, according to Mikailli, who noted that Signifyd is now hiring a larger percentage of employees from inbound applications. In fact, she said, in the first eight months of the year Signifyd received as many applications as it did in all of 2021.
Testing, measuring and communicating are keys to transforming work routines
Since Signifyd announced the change to the four-day workweek in January and made the change in March, Mikailli has stressed the importance of planning, communicating and testing the schedule. Signifyd first conducted a pilot inspired by the initiative of the research and development team, which instituted summer Fridays — making alternating Fridays a day off — over the summer of 2021.
The pilot went companywide with one Friday a month declared a company holiday. Meetings were held team-by-team to talk through how a four-day week would affect operations and how Signifyd would ensure that all its customers’ needs were met without interruption.
In fact, given that Signifyd provides a critical service that some of the largest retailers in the world rely on 24/7, certain teams designed a rotation that would mean a sufficient team was always available to help. Those workers would take a day other than Friday off during the weeks they worked Friday. And members of those teams would trade off working Fridays, so everyone had a chance to take advantage of Friday as an off day.
The shortened workweek and dedicated collaboration efforts even resulted in better incident monitoring and internal processes which has helped increase customer satisfaction during this period.
Signifyd embraces employees who can work together autonomously
Despite those necessary accommodations, most Signifyd employees are off on Fridays, a fact that Mikailli says is also a key to success. When everyone is entitled to a day off, there is no expectation that emails and Slack messages will be returned immediately. There is no confusion about who is working when.
While Signifyd has always had a significant number of remote workers, the COVID pandemic moved the company to an all-remote organization and highlighted some of the stressors that can develop when the home is the office and the office is the home. Leaving work became difficult for some when work was always in the next room. The boundaries between personal time, including family time, and work time became blurred in some cases.
Mikailli said she could sense some of the stress in conversations with employees and the pandemic dragged on.
“As a business, innovation and evolution are paramount, and the employee experience is no different. COVID made it clear that our assumptions around the way work was being done — and the amount of time people could reasonably spend being productive and creative — were no longer working for most people. The smart response was a change. The four-day workweek may still feel foreign and unrealistic to many, but we believe that over time it will become table stakes for any company trying to attract and retain knowledge workers and provide them with sufficient time to recharge so they can bring their best to work each day.”
It’s also the little things that promote wellness
Of course, wellness is about being mindful, taking action and making changes — big and small. You know, small, like flu shots, vaccines, educational sessions — and that healthy competition.
About that, some fun facts. Wellness month at Signifyd by the numbers:
- Vaccines and flu shots received — dozens
- Educational and inspirational speakers — six, including discussions covering, “Five Steps to Financial Wellness,” “How to Show Up for Humans who Need Support” and “How to Talk about Mental Health.”
- Teams in the step competition — 26
- Total steps walked — 28,923,220
- Number of healthy improvements documented — 236
- Total hours volunteered — 60, including at Mini Cat Town, San Jose; Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Navesink PTA
- And the unquantifiable — in-office chair massages, fresh juice bars plus acai bowls, yoga classes, pilates.
Not bad. But we’re just getting warmed up. Consider what those numbers will look like next year, with another year of four-day workweeks under our belts.
Come join the wellness movement at Signifyd