by Lauren McGuire, President
Putting Parkinson’s Law to the Test
Parkinson’s Law simply states that: Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion.
The last two weeks have been filled with excitement and a touch of anxiety as we began a transformational experiment at Made Music Studio.
On March 1st, Made Music Studio joined the 4-Day Week Global Pilot Program, an international study on the four-day work week. For 6 months, we’ll work Monday – Thursday, with the goal of expanding creativity, productivity, and mental health, while maintaining the same level of iconic & enduring creative and service for our clients.
This is the latest leap forward in redefining what it means to be a progressive creative company.
We want to cut the noise of the traditional work week and channel greater energy and creativity into the music.
Post-pandemic, Made Music has been re-evaluating what it means to live our values.
In 2020, we introduced Choice, Freedom and Flexibility (CFF) — a simple standard based on an idea our founder, Joel Beckerman, holds as fact – that what’s good for people, is good for business, which is good for people. Our virtuous cycle. Life outside the studio feeds great creative work in the studio.
With this in mind, CFF has meant a few things to us over the last few years.
In 2020, we adopted a work policy that centers trust and belonging. To provide both mental space and physical spaces, our staff currently has the choice to work remotely or from our NYC studio for culture building, big ideas and highly collaborative work. This high trust model has served us well and people regularly choose to come in. Culture scores are higher than prior to the pandemic and our work continues to be world class. In fact, we have more iconic and enduring sound getting to air and staying on air than ever before.
In 2021, we threw out the industry standard of graduated PTO. Our democratized PTO policy gives all employees, regardless of tenure or seniority, the same much-needed time off to recharge and reset which was 28 days per year for all staff, twice-yearly bonuses for those who take 5 consecutive days out of the office, and two recharge weeks per year. Between 85%-90% of our staff reach our set PTO goals every 6 months and our scores on mental health improved.
But industry change means continuing to reconsider what’s best for our staff and the work, by continuing to question the standard. As Joel tells it, “For all the benefits of hybrid work, there is a cost. Time saved in commuting had translated to more work hours each week which leads to burnout. Burnout is a creativity killer. Our responsibility to our clients isn’t more hours. It’s world-class creative work. The 100-year work paradigm doesn’t work anymore.”
The 5-day week was effectively pioneered for the US by Henry Ford in 1926 in an effort to compromise with labor unions, increase productivity and reduce turnover and accidents. By 1940 it was the standard.*
Today’s reality is nowhere near that of workers 25 years ago, never mind 100 years ago. In an always connected world of over-stimulation and addictive tech, mental health and our work are suffering. APA’s* 2021and 2022 Work and Well-Being Surveys show huge increases in stress induced outcomes in adult workers in the last few years alone.
71% feel stressed or tense during the day.
Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%).
81% of workers agree how employers support mental health will be an important factor in the future.
And what are stress, lack of interest and lack of effort are terrible for? Business.
So, Made is doubling down. We truly believe we will continue to see sustained or improved creative quality, productivity, and retention with these changes that lean into mutual trust and mental health.
Cut the Noise will be a place for me to share candid feedback from the MMS team, and a bit about tools for productivity, meeting management, and mindfulness we are learning from the team at 4DWG. I’ll also call out resources used as I go. The spirit of 4DW aligns nicely with the writing strategy of Smart Brevity by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz. I am not good at this (yet) but will work on it! I also used and note* assists from ChatGPT via Bing which does make for some quick search and link. Feel free to learn with us.
To kick off the shared learning:
💡 Parkinson’s Law simply states, Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion.
Why It Matters: If given five days, we will all use five days. So, what happens when you are only given four? MMS is going to find out. Maybe we can even help change our industry, our business and the lives of people for the better.
* Chat GPT Assist