BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

Cyberjaya-based company pushes the envelope by implementing a 4-day work week schedule

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Supercomputer and AI solutions provider Twistcode has announced that it will be implementing a 4-day work week starting July 23, 2021.

This potentially makes it the first Malaysian company to announce that it’s doing so, though if we’re speaking about companies in Malaysia that are doing 4-day work weeks, one that has been doing it since December 2020 is Australia-based Commission Factory.

While Commission Factory left it to their employees to decide for themselves what weekday to take off, Twistcode has stated that its employees will work from Monday to Thursday, from 9AM to 5PM.

It’s not as flexible as Commission Factory’s implementation, but regardless, it’s still a bold move for a Malaysian company. At most, we’ve seen some announce permanent WFH for employees, such as Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).

A leap that not many Malaysian employers are taking

Since its founding in 2006, Twistcode has specialised in supercomputing, using self-assembled GPU-based supercomputers to facilitate its services and solutions.

Today, the Cyberjaya-based company offers AI solutions, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) application development, and high-performance computing. It’s collaborated with several government agencies thus far.

As its work seems largely client-based, there is the question of how expectations will be managed. In its Facebook post announcement, however, it assured that its online services will continue as per usual and that no changes will be made to the execution of its roadmap.

This leads us to believe that the team has put thought into how they can make it work, and already have proper procedures in place to ensure that their work isn’t disrupted. To add, founder and CEO Nurazam Malim shared on LinkedIn that employee salaries will not be affected.

It sounds like a straightforward thing to carry out, but implementing new SOPs and ensuring that employees abide by them is by no means a simple challenge.

People’s behaviours can be unpredictable, which may be why not many employers are willing to make that leap yet, especially during the pandemic.

There’s already concern over employees’ productivity while WFH or remote working, what more the concept of working fewer hours? It seems counterintuitive to getting things done.

However, the statistics say otherwise

Workplace distractions exist, even more so when many of us are working on computers nowadays. Different studies overseas have found that employees can waste anywhere from 35 minutes to 3 hours of their time in a workday, excluding lunch breaks and scheduled break times.

At best, we waste about 2.5 work hours every week; at worst, we’re wasting 15 hours of work in a week. That’s over a day of work that’s spent on browsing websites, working on other non-essential projects, etc.

Hence, there is a possibility that a 4-day work week can mitigate this time wastage. Employees will now have to ensure their work is done within the smaller time frame, but may be more motivated to do so knowing that they have an extra day off every week to look forward to.

Of course, these factors may vary from company to company. Employees need to make sure that they’re not just cramming 5 days’ worth of work into 4 days, and should be actively communicating with their seniors to manage their workload smartly.

Proper management would be crucial for success

It’s unclear if Twistcode intends to implement the 4-day work week as its permanent official working hours, or if things will change after the pandemic.

For now, it’s simply said that this change is “until further notice”. Hopefully, its employees won’t find themselves working overtime on their 4 workdays.  

With proper management, it’s a strategy that could up the company’s efficiency while attracting more and younger talent.

However, one thing that we noted was that across Glassdoor and JobStreet reviews for the company, “bad management” was a common allegation. It’s unclear how recent the reviews on Glassdoor are, but the reviews on JobStreet are at least 7 months old.

Nurazam acknowledged that Twistcode practices minimal supervision at the workplace, which may have led to some employees perceiving that as bad management. Simply put, you could say there was a mismatch of expectations.

But if these reviews are to be taken at face value, a 4-day work week alone would not make employees any happier or more productive, nor would it prevent potential burnout as Twistcode intends.

To get significant results from this change, Twistcode would need to: a) ensure its talents are a right fit for the company, and b) patch up any alleged gaps in its management strategies. If everything goes as planned, the company could share more details of its 4-day work week strategies for more Malaysian employers to take an example from.

  • You can learn more about Twistcode here.
  • You can read more workplace related content here.

Featured Image Credit: Nurazam Malim, founder and CEO of Twistcode

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