Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Focus: This will be the new working week for SAP in Germany from May 20, 2022.
Many companies encourage employees to set aside time blocks each day for “deep work”, and some even automate this process using tools such as the Microsoft Outlook focus time feature, part of Viva Insights.
However, SAP is taking another step forward by urging employees to avoid scheduling appointments on Friday and instead use the time to clear their to-do lists.
“The intention behind Focus Friday is to ensure a relaxed and focused working time, based on business requirements, so that our colleagues can complete their tasks and start the weekend without action,” wrote Cawa Younosi, global head of SAP’s human resources department. , in post on LinkedIn.
There will be no automated application of the rules and SAP does not ban meetings on Fridays – customer meetings and other unavoidable commitments may still occur – but, Yunosi said, “We know from pilot projects and feedback from our colleagues that they will take an advantage without any outsiders. “
SAP will also encourage employees in Germany to use their Fridays for education and professional development, important tasks for IT workers who are trying to keep up with technological developments.
The IT organization is an early adopter
Digital and information director Florian Roth was among the first to test the new program, presenting it to the company’s IT organization last year, Yunosi told CIO.com.
CTO Jürgen Müller, SAP’s technology and innovation board member, accepted him into his team, while Thomas Saueresig, SAP’s product engineering manager, also tested it with the SuccessFactors team, Yunosi said.
Computer science professor Cal Newport coined the term “deep work” in his 2016 book Deep work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world, describing it as “professional activities carried out in a state of concentration without distraction”. Although Newport’s principles can be applied in other areas, it is clear from Newport’s academic interests and the successful workers he interviewed for his book that they are particularly applicable to software development.
With the move to work from home, developers have been relieved of many distractions in the workplace – or perhaps have replaced one set of distractions with another. IT managers who can’t see their employees at work may have been tempted by the ease of using online conferencing tools. However, CIOs, home management teams, must ensure that meetings do not interfere with staff work.
The SAP Focus Friday program is part of a company-wide campaign to make your meetings more meaningful. He plans to conduct a one-year pilot project of the program in Germany, but if the response of employees is positive, he can deploy it worldwide in 2023.
The initial reaction to Younosi’s LinkedIn message was positive, with one new employee especially looking to see it in action. Other SAP employees were also grateful, though unsure how the idea could be applied to actions in areas other than software development. A member of the SuccessFactors team, one of the first business units to keep Friday clean for focused work, said it was the “biggest gift” after the sharp increase in online homework meetings during the COVID pandemic. 19.
While SAP’s move is to release one day a week for work, some companies are experimenting with the release of one day from work, which makes a four-day work week. Although it seems that lawmakers have given up on recent experience made the four-day work week standard in Californiathis radical idea is nothing new, as CIO.com reported in this 2001 article, “The Four-Day Work Week and the Resurrection of Dotcom.”