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“Quiet Time” and Four-day Work Weeks

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on April 23, 2020.

This message is for our past, current and future clients (and anyone else who may find inspiration in our approach to employee experience during COVID-19). I sent this message as an email earlier today to all of our client contacts.

We love our clients. I mean it. They put food on our table. But they also help us derive a deep sense of purpose and satisfaction because by helping them, we feel like we’re helping improve the world of work. And we are so very grateful to be navigating COVID-19 with our family of clients

I mean it. We love you.

Listen to a summary below.

Today, we sent a message to let clients know about some important changes at The Starr Conspiracy. Effective immediately:

  • We are blocking out 90 minutes of “quiet time” each day for our people to focus on whatever (whether it be uninterrupted time to work on a campaign concept, time to hunt down milk and eggs, or time to read with our kids).
  • We are also implementing a four-day workweek, every other week

Here’s the deal. Over the last many weeks, as COVID-19 tightened its grip on the world, I’ve seen tremendous acts of kindness and everyday heroism from our team. We have fought hard to take care of our clients and each other, and our efforts have really paid off.

But I’ve also seen people struggle to balance getting work done with our increased workloads at home. We struggle with grace, but we struggle nonetheless. On top of maintaining our high standard of work, we’re also figuring out child care, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, and maybe even trying to have a little fun every now and then. 

Part of delivering great work and client success is building an environment of sustainable high performance. As encoded in “The Way We Work” (an internal document that captures the immutable principles of our operating system), “We work at a constant pace that is indefinitely sustainable.” Doing so is a benefit to our people and our clients.

I spend hours a day talking about work tech, the employee experience, and the future of work with the industry’s most influential entrepreneurs and executives, investors, and analysts. And then I jump from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting with my teammates and recognize that I have not done enough to help my own people during these trying times.

Therefore, I have made the decision to create more space in our people’s lives so we can experience the feelings of well-being and productivity that we all deserve, even in these most unusual times. It is my hope that these changes will not only improve our work experience but also manifest in more creative energy along with even better work, results, and velocity for our clients. In fact, I am confident that these counterintuitive moves are the key to unlocking our full potential during this unprecedented time in our shared world’s history.

Thank you for your understanding and support. Most of our clients will not be negatively impacted by these changes. However, we will need to reschedule a few recurring client meetings in order to accommodate our 90 minutes of daily quiet time and our periodic four-day workweek. We have carefully planned our quiet time to accommodate all of our clients around the globe so that we can still hold meetings during your local business hours (though the day may need to shift).

You will be hearing directly from your account manager if we need to make changes to your meeting schedule. And if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. If at any point you feel your needs are not being met or that these changes have created an inconvenience for you, please contact me immediately and we’ll make it right.

Again — thank you for your patience and understanding. I’m only trying to practice what we preach in the work tech industry. I hope that you understand (something tells me you will!). I also want to reaffirm our commitment to your customer experience and to achieving your business goals. I believe these changes will be just as good for you as they are for us.

With Deep Gratitude and Appreciation,

Bret Starr, Captain of the pirate ship, The Starr Conspiracy, 682-478-6434 (mobile),

(Yes … I included all of my personal contact information in my LinkedIn article intentionally. You need me? You call me.)