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075 - Life Admin (aka. The 4-Day Work Week)

Hustle culture is breaking down quick. The rise of the 4-day workweek experiment is upon us, and for good reason…it might actually work. The duo talks with the feisty and beloved Ryan Mae McAvoy about her team's transition to the 4DWW, her lessons learned, and her extreme love of cats. Take the day, give 'er a listen!


Listen here.





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FOLLOW US!

Follow the podcast on Linkedin, Instagram, and TikTok at @peopleproblemspod

Follow the hosts:

Alexa Baggio on Instagram, Tiktok, and LinkedIn

Tyson Mackenzie on Instagram at @hr.shook


Ryan- Mae McAvoy on LinkedIn

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You can see the book Alexa references here: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

And the article here: The Four Day Workweek Shows Us That Working More Doesn't Mean More Success



Alexa

What's up, Tyson?


Tyson

Not too much. I feel like I.


Alexa

Know how we're doing.


Tyson

I feel like I need to give an update because I think.


Alexa

You owe the peeps an update.


Tyson

Yeah, like, so.


Alexa

Give it to us. Last time I want all the updates.


Tyson

I'm talking about, you know, going to be in real life with people. And I was so excited for my girls. My first business trip since Mat leave and everything, and like, holy shit, man. Two days in person.


Alexa

Real people are exhausted people.


Tyson

I am so done. Like I my social beta is done until. Until next year. We're done.


Alexa

We're done. We're not that far away from next year, luckily.


Tyson

But no, I know. Is it too early? Is it too early? I don't know. But, like, honestly, I guess I could not believe, like, how physically exhausted I was after being on, like, you know, work capacity for for two days shoulder and like, it's like, not enough that we have to spend all day together. But then there's like the drinks and then the dinners.


Tyson

We organized events and unlike people, did you not get enough of each other? Like, it's a lot. It is a lot. I just want to go back to my hotel. This is real by myself and like, pump my boots and just like go to sleep and, like, be done with it. Like, that is like, all I wanted. But yeah, anyways, yes, your girls still dressing, so let's just No judgment.


Alexa

Just be free zone. Here are the People Problems podcast. Well, I'm glad you got your first one under your belt. I'm glad you survived it. Yes. Your colleagues are thankful that you survived it.


Tyson

Yes, I am. I hope you survived.


Alexa

So good. Good. And the family is still in one piece. We are still still married. Still.


Tyson

The house is still up. Yes.


Alexa

Exactly. All right. Cool. Well, that's helpful. That's good to know. Yeah. I mean, you've basically mentally got like two weeks before the holidays. So it's fine. I know. I can't wait. Yeah, I know. It's it. Tis the season. Speaking of the season, it is time to let the people know that we have some hotline bling going on these days.


Alexa

So we are announcing the launch of our People Problems Hotline. You can call in and leave us a note with your people problems, story responses or feedback at three ten 5646462. You'll stay anonymous if you want to or not, but you can call in with your crazy stories and your best questions for us here at the People Problems Hotline three ten, five, six, four, six, four, 62.


Alexa

All right, Tyson, we've got a wonderful guest today. I'm very excited for this topic. This is a bit of a continuation of last week's episode. We were talking sort of our unadulterated thoughts on holiday times and breaks. But without further ado, I will introduce Ryan May. Ryan is the director of People Office at Blackthorn IO and considers herself a nontraditional people person.


Alexa

She has worked in the people's space from start ups to ski areas, and she uses humor to lighten the mood, which everyone will be keenly aware of shortly and reminds folks that she is not, quote, regular or she is cool. H are right there for you, tyson. And when she's not working on culture benefits and caring for her team, she lives her best old lady life knitting, reading, wine tasting and hanging with her cats.


Alexa

Biggest cat person I've ever met. She also has an unhealthy amount of Christmas trees, causing her December electric bill to be the stuff of nightmares. Ryan may bank may be the best bio we've ever read here at people problems. And you are definitely the biggest cat person I've ever met. So now I'm outnumbered by cat people as a representative dog person here.


Alexa

Welcome to you.


Ryan-Mae

And I tried to order I ordered some of Tyson's merch because he's got the cool H.R. shirt and I was like, oh, my gosh, I saw that my bio and it like, it just didn't. I don't have my shit together enough to like time merch deliveries. For, like, commitment.


Alexa

Well, tell us a little bit about your foray into people Ryan made for the people, for the peeps, for the kids. It's time for the peeps. Tell us a little bit.


Ryan-Mae

About.


Alexa

Into the space and then we'll get to the topic.


Ryan-Mae

Kind of started as an accident. I got a business degree because I actually feel like the best cop out when you're like, I don't really know what I want to do. I actually went to the ski area and it was kind of one of the things where like ski areas are seasonal and they're like, But you have all this education.


Ryan-Mae

Do you like one work in a job? I was like, totally. Like that's I don't know what that means, like and I still joke to this day, it's the greatest gig I ever had. So we did that for a couple of seasons and then I was like, Oh yeah, I'm moving to Silicon Valley and get my big girl job coach.


Ryan-Mae

It happened, so it was really cool. I was like, The world is my oyster. Like, the world shut down. So I got a job and it was like, You're the people person. Oh, by the way, we actually have to be in person. We've been deemed essential. So if you could just like, figure out what that looks like. Like, to this day, leaving my previous company was the hardest thing.


Tyson

So we enjoying we can we talk about that like what you mentioned, like you just like weren't liking the situation, like what was going on there? Yeah.


Alexa

What happened? What changed?


Ryan-Mae

It was I feel like it was the classic H.R., like, oh, you're the culture carrier. Okay, well, when anyone from leadership says something totally toxic, I can't fix that.


Alexa

Were you a team of one?


Ryan-Mae

I was a team of one.


Tyson

The problem is, is that people and this is what I'm learning is that people think that not so much that H.R. like made the decision, but that H.R. has the power to influence the decision and change the decision. I get that all the time. It's like, yeah, like, I know that we're not supposed to do X, but like, can I like can you just act like can you just, like, can find some way to certain.


Ryan-Mae

Like, steps to do it.


Tyson

Circumvent.


Alexa

The authority you don't have?


Tyson

It's it's as if like, they think is the all powerful and that we get to like go and be like, oh, you know what? Just this once.


Ryan-Mae

And I'll never forget and this I don't want to expose, but I don't want to expose that kind of people. But like we have the conversation is like, no, I'm leaving. And he's like, oh, well you should go like run this by your husband. And like, I look forward to our continued employment. And I was like, I'm out.


Ryan-Mae

Like, I'm a fish.


Alexa

You have to run.


Ryan-Mae

Strong.


Alexa

By your husband.


Ryan-Mae

Yeah. And so I like and I had been trying and even true H.R. person, I was like, this is gonna be coachable moment because I'm leaving and I like that. And I wrote my email and I was like, I'm leaving. And I was like, the feedback on my leaving is when you said this, I know the intention was like, You're part of our family.


Ryan-Mae

Like, you've been around us. All I heard was, your husband loves me more than you. So but my little girl and now I'm officially done, and he's like, Well, that's not what I meant. I'm like, I know that's not what you meant, but this is the culmination of all of our problems. You say things and you only let them land how you feel them.


Ryan-Mae

You're not ever going to look at it through the worst case scenario. And so then I just.


Alexa

It's just to be fair for all the people that listen to this like a major fucking take away, like before shit gets said out loud outside of a small room of executives or otherwise, like, run that shit through the worst case scenario lens, like the sensitivity lens, the other people lens, the spouses lens, like run that shit through your, like, meter of all the different people that this could land on.


Alexa

And if it then if it checks the boxes, say that shit out loud.


Ryan-Mae

But to me.


Tyson

We wouldn't have a job.


Ryan-Mae

Right? If people.


Tyson

Thought about when they said.


Alexa

No.


Ryan-Mae

So we have Blackthorne leadership and we I'm constantly amazed. Like we come in our benefits and stuff. It had been run by like it was start up there were 15 people like we were just piecemeal thing. And I was able to say like what if we did this? And it was like, Yeah, okay. And I was like, wait, wait.


Ryan-Mae

But I have like a whole like presentation and my torch ready and I'm like, going to die on this hill. And you're just like, Yeah, she's got. And I'm like.


Alexa

Isn't it fucking refreshing?


Tyson

That's like the best thing when you have, like, you're so ready to, like, just, like, fight to the death. And then they're like, Yeah, sure. And you're like, What? Like.


Ryan-Mae

And so we're like, learning each other, and all of us are kind of working. And then out of nowhere, so I was like, Hey, I've been reading about 40 work week, and I was like, Oh, I wish. Okay.


Alexa

That would.


Ryan-Mae

Be great. And then it became a thing.


Tyson

Let's talk about it.


Alexa

Let's talk. I want to talk about why. I want to talk about pros. I want to talk about cons, I want to talk about considerations.


Ryan-Mae

So ready to.


Alexa

Follow along with me here? Why did you start having this conversation? Like, he read something about it, whatever. But what were like the considerations and the reasons that this conversation is started to happen?


Ryan-Mae

I think it was a three prong kind of reason that.


00:09:02:12 - 00:09:04:16

Alexa

It's just really quickly, how many employees are you guys?


Ryan-Mae

Right now? We're at 100 and between 120. 130.


Alexa

Okay. And you're fully remote.


Ryan-Mae

We're fully remote. We're in 14 countries. We're in the U.S. world, in 29 states where we're everywhere. We're in almost every time zone. That's like my goal is to get one in every time zone on the planet. Like, yes. But so when I started, we were 32 and they were doing summer Fridays every other Friday, and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is great.


Ryan-Mae

And then it was like a discussion. Do we just keep every other Fridays And the notice from those just from that was like a lot of people. If I go to the DMV, I mean, dude, on that Friday, I'm going to just kind to like live my life on that Friday. Of, like, the stuff nobody wants to do but you need to do and then you don't feel bad about missing work.


Ryan-Mae

So, like, okay, cool. I believe our C CEO had read an article and there was a lot of stuff coming out about some of the bigger players trying, trying this or being against it or it's not going to work. I kind of thought it was a joke when he suggested that. It was like, okay, I was going to give everyone every Friday off and then leadership started buying it on.


Ryan-Mae

It was like, Yeah, what would that look like? How would that work? Can you do some research on me? So we did a bunch of research, and for us, we the one thing I would say that if you're prepared to do this, we called the first quarter a beta we told everybody, pause.


Alexa

Before you go there, I want to know what the research told you. I want to know what you found out about four day work.


Ryan-Mae

There's not enough research. There's not enough good research. And I think I found like it it was a college I don't want to cite the wrong college. There was a college that did a study on it. Most of the studies were in Europe and which is great. But you've traveled and like outside of the U.S. cultures as such a.


Alexa

Little bit.


Ryan-Mae

Like it's just things are more relaxed there's there's longer lines.


Alexa

Stations are different. Yeah. Yeah. The relationship to work is different.


Ryan-Mae

Exactly. So a struggle I had when we were doing this research, I was like, well, all of this is from the UK, so I don't know if that applies to us. And what I love about our leadership is they're not afraid to push back in a constructive way. And it was like, but why? We have people in the UK and I was like, Oh, well, gosh, they're okay.


Ryan-Mae

Yeah, that's a really good point. Like, I don't have a good answer for that. Why am I only thinking in the U.S. box? And that's something that like I remember instantly, that's when you were very like focused on our own selves. So we started the conversation and the research. I, I think I made like a very pathetic deck and I even was like the conclusion I was like, I can't tell you yes or no of this is a good idea.


Ryan-Mae

I can tell you as an employee I am all and I, even if it's for a month, I want all those Fridays off.


Alexa

Yeah. And you were like, we're going to test this. We're going to do like a trial run we did.


Ryan-Mae

So we sat down with our management team and our leadership team and said, Hey, we're going to try this for a quarter. Like, we're going to try it we didn't have a lot of parameters. I'll be really honest. We kind of just were like, Yeah, Fridays off. I don't know, that looks like. And then it was like, Oh, wait, we we have a customer support team.


Tyson

Like, I was going to ask. Yeah, I'm going to ask, is there anyone that needs to be there? 24 sevenths.


Alexa

Yeah, yeah. And maybe let's go through some considerations before we do second. So we.


Ryan-Mae

We didn't do a great we did talk about it, but I don't think we framed it up very well in the first run.


Alexa

And so what do you, what do you mean by that?


Ryan-Mae

Like, really? Oh, okay. Well, if there's customer support, like we kind of delineated like what does customer support look like? Like what is that like, okay, so who's got to cover Friday? Is it one person is half the team. Like we didn't get deep dove on that. I don't think we I don't think we had a consistent schedule, to be honest.


Ryan-Mae

I think it was like who's was working on Fridays and things like that.


Ryan-Mae

And despite all of that, it's still mostly worked. People were happy and then it came like it's coming up to the end of this quarter. What does it look like? We are very much about engagement and feedback and stuff, so we have a bi weekly anonymous feedback tool. We have a quarterly like I feel valued all this. You can add comments, so it's coming up in every like okay, 40 work week.


Ryan-Mae

What is this look like? The number one thing I think we have like 34 people be like I love the four day week. And I was like, oh gosh. Okay, so if we roll this back, like who's going to deliver that message? Because no, no I'm not.