4-day working week in a high performing team

Published Jul 2, 2023, 12:52 AM
Written by Chris Kelly

Let's talk about the importance of trust in software development, the attraction of a 4-day a week role, and why I love learning and sharing skills.

Too good to be true?

When I saw the Symbiote ad for my four-day week job it seemed a bit too good to be true. I thought, ‘Yeah, sure, they’ll want me to squeeze five days of work into four.'

Thankfully, I was wrong about that.

After my wife and I had our daughter I was ready to change the way I worked. I knew I still loved being a web developer, but I wanted a clear demarcation between work and home life.

Work-life balance is essential

I've spent years working as a developer in huge tech teams for companies like Bunnings, Coles, Origin Energy and RMIT. Origin, for example, had a digital team of around a thousand people. In the past few years I’ve been running my own business, which was satisfying but very time intensive. It wasn’t conducive to a work-life balance.

I started looking for a place where I could use my skills in a mid-sized team where I’d have more input into decisions that are made and a closer relationship with the client and the problems we were solving for them. While I was searching for a role that could use my React and PHP skills, I saw the Symbiote ad for a four-day work week senior lead full stack developer role. I thought the company website looked good and noticed they’ve done some huge projects and lots of interesting smaller ones. I read blog posts written by people I’d be working with and thought it sounded like a good fit. I applied, was talking to the company leadership team within days and the rest is history.

Trust expands beyond a work team into your relationship with customers

You’ll never know everything in this industry – it’s constantly changing. In my team people aren’t scared to speak up when they don’t know something. The team’s very humble. There’s a lot of trust here and generosity in sharing what we’ve learned.

The trust in the team flows through to our relationships with customers. 

Clients put a lot of trust in us. When clients buy software they’re buying something that’s not directly visible. It’s a bit like taking your car to a mechanic – you rely on them to look after everything under the hood. We’re often doing lots of tricky, complex tasks that are effectively invisible so a client’s website works smoothly. One way we build trust is the effort we put into understanding what they need and into creating experiences their users will appreciate. While a lot of our efforts go on behind the scenes, our clients are kept up-to-date at every step of a project so they understand what we’re doing to create a great product while acting to avoid future problems. 

Learning and coaching go hand in hand – it's satisfying to share knowledge

Online learning is a subject that fascinates me, so I’m happy to see we’ve got skills on the team to tackle interesting education-based projects. I’m looking forward to doing more of those. 

I’m also ready to coach early-career devs because I love watching other people have ‘light bulb’ moments. It forces you to really understand something if you’re going to share it with someone else.

Learning and personal growth are important to me. I enjoy learning and sharing with my colleagues during my four day work week, and, in my time off, I enjoy watching my baby learn and grow too.