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A Mindful Organisation

Here at Exfluency, we have embraced a new approach to work-life balance by implementing a four-day work week 1½ years ago. This decision reflects our commitment to fostering a mindful organisation where productivity and well-being go hand in hand.

At the helm of this transformative initiative is our Chief of Staff and Chief Marketing Officer, Alma Oprasic, whose visionary leadership, and innovative thinking have been instrumental in this journey.

Today, we proudly present an exclusive interview with Alma, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the motivations, challenges, and triumphs of implementing this progressive work model. Join us as we explore how this policy has shaped our company, benefiting our team, our work, and our community at large.

Alma Oprasic - Chief of Staff

The genesis of change

What motivated Exfluency to transition to a four-day work week, and how did you personally champion this change?

As a startup three years ago, Exfluency had the opportunity to start off on the right foot. For us, it wasn’t a matter of changing our ways, but rather a deep desire to conduct better business – in all aspects. This included providing a better work-life balance for our employees, offering more innovative services to our clients, and ultimately, building a company that is founded on our values. Implementing a four-day work week was a crucial component of this vision.

Implementation challenges

Implementing a four-day work week must have come with its set of challenges. Could you share some of the obstacles you faced and how you overcame them?

There were no major challenges during the process because we made sure to plan and communicate clearly from the beginning. It was important for us to involve our teams in the process so that everyone was on the same page. However, we did put a special focus on our customer service to ensure that our clients always have access to our assistance and experience a high level of service. To achieve this, we made our teams more cross-functional and agile in their competencies and roles within the organisation. We conduct cross-functional training and document our processes thoroughly so that colleagues can support each other when it comes to customer service.

Measuring success

How does Exfluency measure the success of the four-day work week in terms of productivity, employee well-being, and client satisfaction?

We have partnered with an external consultant who oversees our company’s work culture and thriving program. Initially, this program was conducted every six months, but now we have made it an annual event.

The program involves three key stages:

  1. Data gathering through an app-based questionnaire over a period of two weeks.
  2. Evaluation of the gathered data and subsequent work culture workshops, where all teams participate in analysing and suggesting points for improvement.
  3. A final report is presented with action points and data insights, which helps us to execute new ideas and follow up on results.

Our data have shown significant improvements in employee well-being after the implementation of the four-day work week. Since we started this new way of working, our productivity and performance have only gone up while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. We receive regular feedback from our customers through reviews and monthly performance calls, where they share their views and opinions on how we are performing.

Cultural shifts

Can you describe any cultural shifts within the organisation that have occurred due to this change? How has it affected the team dynamics and individual attitudes towards work?

Yes, there are many small changes that have made it possible for us to work in an “Exfluency way”. But the most significant changes have been the team spirit and team efforts. Everyone in the organisation understands that a four-day work week cannot function if only individuals are successful. It’s only when the whole team and company as a whole achieve key objectives, work towards one aspirational vision, and achieve their desired goals that a four-day work week makes sense. This has led to a high level of collaboration, coordination, and communication between individuals and teams. As an example, our team prioritises team key objectives over individual KPIs.

Feedback loop

What has been the feedback from employees regarding the four-day work week? Are there any adjustments or iterations that had to be made after its initial implementation?

The feedback received from both the team level and individual one-on-one meetings has been very positive. All team members have expressed a high level of satisfaction with the following work-life thriving objectives1:

  • Mental balance: how well are our “data processors” functioning?
  • Emotional balance: how well are we handling our current situation emotionally and how well do we trust our own decisions?
  • Resilience: how well are we handling mistakes and do we find our community meaningful and worth our time and effort?

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Leadership and management

How has this shift impacted your role and the management team? Has it required a new style of leadership or management practices?

Leading a fundamental change in an organisation’s work culture requires a lot of effort. Our leadership had to believe in and embrace the concept themselves before they could support their teams in the implementation. We conducted thorough research and planning to ensure our decisions were based on facts and that the approach was suitable for our own business. There is no one-size-fits-all model for this cultural and mindset-related change. Every company needs to evaluate its organisational structure and customer needs to implement a model that works well all around.

In our case, the agility boost, the teams’ ownership of the process, regular evaluations, and leadership support resulted in a flexible model called “80-100-100” – which means 80% of work time, 100% remuneration, and 100% performance. Ultimately, as the leader of this process, my key objective was and still is to create conditions that enable all our teams, individuals, and management to perform at their best.

The Team

The broader impact

Beyond the immediate benefits to employees and the company, do you see Exfluency’s adoption of the four-day work week as having a broader impact on the industry or corporate culture globally?

We aspire to inspire others and share our experience with companies committed to fostering a holistic, human, and mindful approach to business. Our core value is ‘Doing Better Business,’ which reflects our belief that everything we do has a broader impact on our people, partners, and customers. Therefore, we believe that doing the right thing in all business aspects is crucial to building better results and a better future for all stakeholders.

We firmly believe that being mindful, innovative, and professional can go hand in hand.

Future plans

Based on your experience so far, are there any plans to further evolve the work structure at Exfluency? What advice would you give to other companies considering a similar shift?

Yes, we always strive for incremental improvements and regularly evaluate our ways of working to ensure their continued viability. The four-day work week is no exception. We assess its impact on our well-being, performance, and customers, and when we identify areas that are not working, we examine the root cause and take steps to address it.

I would advise other companies to do the same: to periodically review their methods of working and achieving success. The pace of change is so rapid nowadays that no solution can remain static, and it is therefore crucial to continually rethink your organisational design, which is very much a leadership task.

Another piece of advice I would offer is that many companies tend to keep adding new processes, ideas, and goals to their agenda without removing any. However, to execute a well-defined strategy and vision, it is important to be adept at both addition and subtraction. In other words, you need to be able to ask yourself, “What should we not be doing this quarter?” so that your teams can stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Personal reflections

Finally, Alma, how has the transition to a four-day work week impacted you personally and professionally?

It has brought me immense joy to witness positive outcomes across all facets of our organisation. Knowing that we are making the right decisions fills me with happiness. As the Chief of Staff, it is my responsibility to ensure that our business operates smoothly, making our people, customers, and shareholders content.

On a personal level, it has given me the opportunity to reflect on how we can improve Exfluency as a company and a workplace. I have been able to step back and contemplate ways to make our organisation more effective and enjoyable for everyone involved.

As we conclude our conversation with Alma Oprasic, it’s clear that Exfluency’s decision to adopt a four-day work week is a testament to our commitment to innovation, employee well-being, and sustainable success. This initiative is more than just a policy – it’s a cornerstone of our identity as a mindful organisation, dedicated to setting new standards in the industry.

We are proud to share this journey with our employees, clients, and partners. Our experience demonstrates that a balanced approach to work can lead to unparalleled productivity and satisfaction. It also serves as a beacon for forward-thinking practices, encouraging others to reconsider the status quo and embrace change.

Thank you for joining us in this reflective exploration. As we continue to evolve and adapt, Exfluency remains dedicated to leading by example, showing the world that it is possible to work smarter, not harder, and still achieve exceptional results.

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1 Tactuus has helped us with our work culture and habits in connection with the transition to a 4-day work week:
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