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82: Team Bonnie Summer Hours: Our 4-Day Work Week

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Bonnie Christine [00:00:00]:

The fact that the team can take a day and extra day on the weekend all summer along to just live and explore and do the things that really you know, make life beautiful. I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all creativity, design, business, and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town tub right beside the Smoky Mountains running a multi 7 figure business, doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. But when I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of coming, a fabric designer. Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life doing something that lights you up, I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want, and is wildly profit Welcome to the professional creative podcast. Inside our company, We prioritize family before all else. And for this reason, we decided this past summer to implement a 4 day work week.

Bonnie Christine [00:01:36]:

You know, really because of this, the summer is our slowest time anyways. And so we wanted to encourage the team to use this time for their families or their side hustles and their creativity or just general rest and rejuvenation as well. Fall and winter are our busiest seasons. And so from June 1st to August 31st, We implemented a 4 day work week. We only worked Monday through Thursday, and that just wrapped up for us. And so I wanna tell you all about it. I wanna tell you why we did it, how we did it, and some lessons learned throughout the summer, as well as give you some advice in case you wanna implement this for yourself, if you're a one person show or your team, if you have anyone who helps you. So there are a couple of values that we hold as a team, and 3 of them in particular come to mind when I think about why we did a 4 day work week in the first place.

Bonnie Christine [00:02:36]:

The first one is that people come first. Many of us on the team have young families, and summer means time with the family, time with kids, and time to really nurture those relationships. The next one is side hustles. We have a team full of entrepreneurs, and I really love that. So we celebrate everyone's side hustle And so summer hours allows those with a side hustle to give their business or hobbies a little extra attention as well as we slow things down at team, BC. And the last one is our value that creatives success is our success. Now this typically means my students or my members, but it also means my team. I value the dreams and the goals that we work towards together, and I want to nourish the individual ones on our team as well.

Bonnie Christine [00:03:31]:

So a couple of things that we did that made this really fun The first one is that we added a special channel in Slack to share what we've been up to during our Fridays off. Now if you wanna hear more about how we use slack, you can reference episode number 70 where I teach how I nurture and lead a team by fostering connection through slack channels. But just from this particular channel alone, we had one called summer Fridays. And so every week, we encouraged everyone to just share with us what they were planning to do with their summer Friday. And so we really just celebrated this. So a couple of examples of some things that people shared. Someone on the team went on a mini getaway with the family, They enjoyed long weekends, stay cations. Someone said they just putts around with no rhythm or routine and loved it.

Bonnie Christine [00:04:25]:

Someone knocked out Aaron's early so that they could enjoy the luxurious weekend days. Someone made art in their studio and worked on their own collections. Someone visited friends or had friends over to their studio, and someone hosted gatherings like fancy parties and had coffee dates, Someone took the day to go to a baseball game and had fun at pool parties and lake trips and went river tubing. And a lot of people worked on home projects. Like painting or tearing down wallpaper. Someone even took the time to go explore a botanical garden. Now this just gives me life. The fact that the team can take a day, an extra day on the weekend, all summer along, to just live and explore and do the things that really, you know, make life beautiful.

Bonnie Christine [00:05:15]:

So what did we love and what will we change in the future What we really loved was the long weekend. I mean, who doesn't just love a long weekend? The bonus day can act as a long weekend, or it can clear the deck to, like, truly relax, or it can be used to work on their own work. So it It wasn't allowed to be anything for teen Bonnie Christine, but it could be work on their own business or side hustle if they want. What we loved was time for extra projects. Family friends and letting things just be unplanned. And then, of course, extra time to rest and rejuvenate and restore and then come into the work week with a renewed energy and excitement. Now things that we learned or might pay attention to and tweak later on There are a couple of Mondays that are holidays during the summer. And so when this happened and we had Fridays off, It really made for a hard week.

Bonnie Christine [00:06:13]:

It was like a 3 day work week because we had Friday Monday off, so it's a 4 day weekend. Which is great in some ways, but, really, it means that squeezing everything in that we need to do in a 3 day work week is really not favorable. So what we're gonna try to do in advance is probably not have Friday or let people choose whether They they need to attack on one day, and they could either do that on Friday or Monday so that we maintain 4 days in the office and never 3. The other thing that we learned was just oftentimes the workload felt a little bit heavy on Monday. Like, there was a lot to catch up on. Especially in the inbox. And so sometimes I send emails on Thursday, and then we're out of the inbox all weekend. So Monday feels like just a lot to catch up on.

Bonnie Christine [00:07:03]:

So we really need to think about when emails are going out and then potentially having someone check-in or at least get a head start on Monday, like, early in the day. And then just for me personally, I would con definitely forget that the team was, like, winding up work for the whole week, like, Thursday early afternoon. And so I would remember oh, I need to give this update or, you know, grab this from someone on the team. And so I would really try to remember to do that on Wednesday instead of, like, you know, early Thursday afternoon. And so that's just a note to myself that I really need to focus on, you know, remembering everyone is finding down. So I have about 10 pieces of advice that I would give you if you want to trial this because really at the end of the day, we absolutely loved it, and we will absolutely do it again. I think it's really nice to be intentional about having a slow season, not only for yourself, but for your team as well. So I don't think that we'll keep it forever, like, you know, year round, but I do think that we will absolutely implement it again next summer.

Bonnie Christine [00:08:13]:

And so we'll constantly have summer hours, which is so fun to look forward to. So my advice for you would be number 1 to have a trial period. Maybe before you commit to, like, this long term change, sort of like we did during the summer, is test the waters with a trial period This is gonna give you time to kind of adjust for the flow and get feedback from anybody who's working with you and just fine tune the approach before you make any big commitments or announcements. Number 2 is to be really clear in your communication. This goes twofold. So first of all, clear with your team, second of all, clear with your audience, your customers, your students, the people who are purchasing from you, And so number 1, for your team, just be really clear about the expectations. I'll talk about the team a little bit in number 3. So I wanna focus this one on clear communications with your audience.

Bonnie Christine [00:09:08]:

One thing that we really had to think about was that I send membership content out. My membership called flourish every Friday. And I've done Friday content since I started the membership back in 2012. So it was really hard for me to think about changing that, but we decided to send it out on Thursdays just for summer hours. So we just moved it back to Fridays. And we were just sure to communicate to members. We're on summer hours. That means the team is doing a 4 day work week, and we hope that you will as well.

Bonnie Christine [00:09:42]:

And so we used it as an opportunity to really lean into our values and inspire, hopefully inspire our members to really be intentional about the time that they take off as well. And so we implemented Thursday content for the summer It really went seamlessly. Everyone was happy about it. The main takeaway is just to be clear about it. The other thing we did was set up a inbox automatic responder. We always have this, but it typically runs Friday afternoon to first thing Monday morning. And so we changed that to Thursday afternoon to first thing Monday morning. And so just making sure that people who are emailing us understand that we won't be getting back to them until Monday but that we will prioritize getting back to them on Monday really just sets the tone and helps, you know, no one be worried that we're not getting back to them super quickly on that Friday.

Bonnie Christine [00:10:39]:

So number 3 is to set clear expectations. This kind of goes both ways. You may have someone on your team. Maybe it's you who is tempted to still work on Friday. Maybe they didn't get everything done, or maybe they just love work so much that they don't wanna step away from it. But I think setting really clear expectations like, hey, not only do you not have to check-in on Friday, but I'm not allowing you to check-in Friday. Like, we're off. Meaning, we're off.

Bonnie Christine [00:11:11]:

Take it as a vacation. Don't check-in. I don't wanna hear from you. I'll see you on Monday. And then the other way to set clear expectations is honestly just because the work week is shorter doesn't mean that our expectations for deliverables are reduced. And so we try to have less big projects in the summer, but we absolutely still have projects and deadlines. So it's not this lazy, Daisy, you know, approach to work. It's more like we're gonna hit the ground running on Monday.

Bonnie Christine [00:11:42]:

We're gonna be hyper focused on what we're doing. We're gonna deliver great results, and then we're gonna have a 3 day weekend. So we're gonna work hard and play hard. And so It doesn't mean, like, Mozy in to work all summer, and nothing really matters. Definitely doesn't mean that. It means we're gonna work harder in a shorter amount of time. Mark your calendars for this October 19th through 21st because our annual conference for creative immersion live is coming up. We've gathered a spectacular lineup of industry leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield, Morgan Harper Nichols, Glow Autonomous, and Nicholas Wilton, plus many, many more for an unmatched virtual conference experience.

Bonnie Christine [00:12:29]:

Immersion Live this year is all about the art of business for the professional creative Over 3 days, you'll unlock strategies to guide your business effectively, refine your designs and establish a flourishing creative career. And the best part is that you can experience it all from the comfort of your own home. We do a live virtual conference like nobody else Sessions will allow for real time interaction, questions answered, and a sense of community that's honestly hard to match. Our event kicks off with open studio night on October 19th where you'll get to peek behind the curtain of some incredibly successful artists and designers The next 2 days, you'll immerse yourself in keynote sessions and workshops where you'll learn, interact, and have all your questions answered. Come engage with like minded creatives, make meaningful connections, and open the doors to collaboration. We're also recording every session. So you can revisit and absorb this wealth of knowledge at your own pace. Head on over to bonniekristine.comforward/ 2023 immersion Live to join us.

Bonnie Christine [00:13:36]:

Number 4 is to use technology. Invest in tools and software that help you connect with people, something like slack, like I mentioned, and then Zoom is one of our favorite ways to connect as a team as well. This can just make sure that everyone is really connected. We also love to use the Slack Huddl feature. So you can huddle with anyone, anytime using slack Huddl, and you can have your camera on, but we love it for cameras down. You know, sometimes being on zoom so much can really cause some fatigue. And so I love to use slack huddle. Cameras are down.

Bonnie Christine [00:14:17]:

It's like we're all on the phone together. And we can really talk through a lot that way when we don't have to be looking at each other. My piece of advice for number 5 is to consider having flexible hours. Now we have this max flex, you know, schedule at Bonnie Christine meaning pretty much people can work whenever they want as long as they get their work done and they make it to team meetings. And so for instance, Lisa on my team is a early bird. She will often get up in the 4 o'clock, definitely the 5 o'clock hour. And so she'll be having a full work day winding up at 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Now I don't get to work until around 10.

Bonnie Christine [00:14:58]:

And so my workdays shift a little a little bit later. So just making sure to have open communication about that and let your team know if it's okay with you, that they have flexible hours really provides even more flexibility because truly we're all creative in different times. Another great example is that my EA is a night owl. So I get updates from her at, like, 1 AM. Of course, I don't see them until I get to work at 10 the next morning, which is when she's just starting her day as well. So it's a really beautiful thing when we can all work at our prime. And it doesn't have to be the same for everyone. Number 6 is to reevaluate the workload as you move into the 4 day schedule.

Bonnie Christine [00:15:43]:

So you can absolutely still accomplish so much, but you likely don't wanna do something like a mega launch or something like that because Course, you'll need all hands on deck for a really big release. So just reevaluate. For me, I love using the 4 day work week as a time to kind of go head down, get some quiet work done. I've been working on a fabric collection this summer. It's also a great time to hire because we're a little bit slower. We get to slow down in order to speed up. So we slow down a little bit, figure out what needs we have on the team. We have time to open applications and get people on board before we really ramp up in the fall and winter.

Bonnie Christine [00:16:27]:

Number 7 is just to stay flexible, you know, monitor and adjust. Do regular check ins with your team and see are they loving it, or are they hating it? You might be surprised that some feedback that you get You know, some people might rather have a shorter day, but work 5 days rather than a longer day and 4 days. And so you just don't wanna assume that you know for sure. Now number 8 is to be sure that you communicate again with your customer service considerations. If your business relies really heavily on customer service and you can have, like, urgent messages that need a response, You might consider doing this a little bit differently. You might consider doing, like, a rotation basis for the inbox load or the chat load in particular. Just because if you really have a lot of people who who very much do need your customer service, you don't wanna leave them hanging for longer than you have to. Number 9 is just like we did, remember that this is flexible and you can go in between a 4 day work week and a 5 day work week.

Bonnie Christine [00:17:34]:

So while a 4 day work week might work really well for you in one season. It might not work well for you in another season. So just remember that You can change that. You can ebb and flow with the seasons of your business. And then finally, number 10 is just to encourage your team to genuinely take a break on their day off. Emphasize the importance of rest and rejuvenation and promote well-being on your team. Taking care of your people and making sure that they can rest and really unplug means that when they come to work, They are energized and fully focused, and you'll thank yourself for it. So that's a wrap.

Bonnie Christine [00:18:15]:

You know, a 4 day work week is a testament how intentionality and care can truly transform not just our professional lives, but our personal lives too. It's a reminder that when we make space for ourselves and our passions, we can really light up benefits for those all around us. So let's just take a moment to recognize the power of time both in work and in rest. And Like I mentioned in episode number 76, you don't wanna rest from work. You wanna work from rest. So as you head into your next creative endeavor, whatever it may be, my friends create the beauty that you want to see come alive in the world and remember there's one for you.

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I'm Bonnie Christine.


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