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Soft Fridays: A Look at Codeword’s Experiment

July 4, 2024

Summer Fridays have been around for a while now, but have you heard of Soft Fridays? In January, Codeword, a communication design agency, launched an innovative pilot program called Soft Fridays. This initiative allows the agency’s 100 employees, in collaboration with their managers, to decide if and how they work on Fridays.

A New Approach to Work

Managers are encouraged to set deadlines on Thursdays instead of Fridays, ensuring that employees’ Fridays remain “sacred.” This shift in deadline setting has prompted employees to streamline their schedules by reducing the number of meetings during the week, especially on Fridays, and minimizing the number of attendees in those meetings.

An essential component of this strategy is the requirement for meeting agendas. “We have been coining the phrase, ‘No agendie, no attendee,’ which I think is really helpful for the team,” Alli Ray, Codeword’s chief of staff, explained. This means that if an employee joins a meeting and is unclear about its purpose within the first five minutes, they have the freedom to leave. This approach has led to fewer, more focused meetings, allowing employees to be more productive throughout the week. Consequently, Fridays are reserved for wrapping up tasks and signing off early.

A Day for Creativity and Focus

For Liv Allen, a VP on Codeword’s PR team, Fridays have become a day for deep, uninterrupted work. “Personally, I find we call them, ‘deep work Fridays,’ as well as soft Fridays,” Allen shared. These days provide a chance to work on projects that require more headspace and quiet time, free from the interruptions of meetings.

Positive Reception and Future Prospects

The reception to Soft Fridays has been overwhelmingly positive. Ray hopes the program’s success will lead to its permanent adoption within Codeword’s culture. “The big thing at Codeword is really that we’re treating each other as responsible adults,” she said. “Soft Fridays is a framing of mind where the responsibilities are being put back on the team to ensure that quality standards are met, clients are happy, and work is getting done, and that they’re using their space and time to be as creative as possible.”

By entrusting employees with the autonomy to manage their schedules, Codeword has fostered a culture of responsibility and creativity. Soft Fridays not only enhance work-life balance but also promote a more efficient and innovative work environment. As the program continues, it stands as a testament to the agency’s commitment to employee well-being and productivity.

Source: HR Brew


By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE.

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