Workplace Culture

Is It Time to Embrace the 4-Day Workweek?

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We were excited to shorten our workweek by half a day back in September, with the understanding that leadership would assess how things were going in a few months. We knew we might go back to five days, or even progress to a four-day workweek. Although this experiment has gone well, it was recently decided that we’d remain at four and a half days for now.

But we still consider this a success! After all, we now work fewer hours, with minimal impact to our productivity or ability to serve our clients, and we achieve a better work-life balance.

Although I wasn’t a decision-maker on this, there are some things I observed that made our shortened workweek a success.

4 Strategies For a Successful Workweek

We had lots of notice of the change.

The announcement that we were moving to a shorter workweek came to us in June, but it was only implemented in September. This gave us the opportunity to get into the rhythm of a shorter week without experiencing the true impact of the change.

These few months also gave our teams time to consider what would make this a success, and what would make it a failure. We also discussed what additional supports or resources each of us might need to make this a reality.

We ran a weekly survey to track our progress.

This survey asked questions about our stress levels, whether we were completing our priorities, and how the shorter week had impacted our well-being. There was also the opportunity to connect with someone from the leadership team if we needed additional support.

There was a strong indication that, by reducing our hours by just half a day, the majority of us experienced a greater sense of well-being.

There was a strong indication that, by reducing our workweek by just half a day, the majority of us experienced a greater sense of well-being. That half day also allows us to manage many of the small things that can take up the weekend (or require time off during the workweek). These may include running errands, attending doctor and dentist appointments, getting a haircut, grocery shopping, etc.

We were given a choice around how to use our half-day off.

A variety of options were made available to us:

  • Take the same half-day off each week
  • Work a full week, then take a full day off the next
  • Work reduced hours every day.

This demonstrated leadership’s high level of trust in our staff – it was up to us to collaborate to find a schedule that worked for ourselves, our team, and the organization.

Emphasis was placed on communication.

From the get-go, there was a precedent set that we would need to communicate with our teams and other staff so that there was still predictability in our schedules. For example, since most of our clients don’t work a short week, our customer-facing teams needed to make sure someone would be around to answer the phones between 8:30 and 4:30, Monday to Friday. This meant alternating half-days off and coordinating with other staff to cover phones.

From the get-go, there was a precedent set that we would need to communicate with our teams and other staff so that there was still predictability in our schedules.

We also all set out-of-office replies and changed our messaging status to away when taking our extra time off. That way everyone is aware of who’s working and who isn’t, by a simple glance at our statuses.

Although we haven’t moved to the coveted four-day workweek, this is still a success, and the decision to stay at four and a half days makes sense. We’ve been through a lot of change already this past year, and it’s better to take our time with this so we can do it properly rather than rush into cutting out an entire day from our schedules.

And an added bonus of this process is that everyone collectively wants to make it happen. It’s prompted us to get creative and collaborative when thinking about our processes and how we can become more efficient in everything we do. It’s been a great team building experience, and who knows, maybe by the end of 2024 we’ll join the four-day club!

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Author

Tyler Voth

Brand Voicing, Publishing Manager, and Blog Contributor

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