When Seattle startup Uplevel adopted a four-day work week in January, it was betting on the fact that employees could complete the same amount in less time.
Jori Maurer, Uplevel’s vice president of marketing, said:
This experiment exceeded expectations. During the three-month trial period, the company shipped more products and received more customers than ever before, according to internal reports. None of his employees wanted to go back to a five-day work week. The company still enforces a four-day work week policy.
The Uplevel results, which are aimed at helping organizations reach their goals without burning out their engineers, align with the results of a global survey released last month. Nonprofit 4 Day Week Global.
Overall, the study found that shortening the week had surprising effects on people’s mental and physical health, with no significant downsides for employers. An average increase of 38% compared to the same period last year. This result adds to the growing number of case studies demonstrating the benefits of shorter weeks.
We spoke with Uplevel and Volt Athletics, another Seattle startup, to learn more about the positive impact of a four-day work week and the associated challenges.
Dan Giuliani, CEO of fitness app startup Volt, said leaders had to cut back on meetings relentlessly when they moved to a four-day week in July 2020.
“I took all my recurring meetings off my calendar and resumed only those I felt were necessary,” he told GeekWire.
About a third of these were unable to return to their calendars and used more discernment in deciding who would attend the remaining meetings. Meanwhile, the company gathered feedback from employee surveys on how employees view their productivity.
Giuliani added that employee well-being, happiness and satisfaction have improved significantly.
When it comes to recruitment and retention, a four-day work week helps keep small businesses competitive.
“We have to compete with big players,” Giuliani said.
Maurer said there was an exponential increase in inbound job seekers after implementing the shortened week.
According to a global survey by 4 Day Week Global, 70% of respondents said their next job would require them to offer 10-50% more pay to return to five days, and more than 10% said they would I’m answering like I couldn’t put them back together. A separate report by Qualtrics, released in February of her survey of more than 1,000 people, found that the majority of U.S. employees (94%) supported their employers adopting a four-day work week. It turns out that
Customer service challenges
One of the most commonly cited concerns when taking time off from work is maintaining quality customer service. A Qualtrics survey found that more than half (55%) of employees believed that closing for the day was likely to irritate customers.
Giuliani acknowledged that this is a challenge. He said Volt’s customer service team has been responding to inquiries throughout the weekend, but has not received a high volume of requests. By policy, he strives to respond to customers within 48 hours from 24 hours, and employees will call on exactly when to respond to customers.
At Uplevel, a small number of employees from various departments are designated to be “on call” every Friday. Additionally, now that the pilot is over, the company reiterates that it expects people to be available on Fridays, whether they are “on call” or not, should situations arise that they deem “business critical.” Did.
Are you really on vacation?
When employees have 24/7 access to their devices, “closing the office” is not a black and white deal (even in a metaphorical sense).
Maurer said many staffers have chosen to work on Fridays, with some staffers appreciating the opportunity to do more “deep work” without interruption.Giuliani Boruto’s staff often work “off days,” he said, but he doesn’t think that’s a bad thing.
“We intentionally named the policy ‘Flex Friday’ with the idea that you can do whatever you want with your time that day,” he said. But they are doing it on their own time and don’t feel the stress or strain of being online.”
Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO of Seattle-based HR consulting firm Reverb, takes a slightly different approach to her team of about 75 employees and consultants. Rather than adopting her official four-day policy, which her staff voted against, she adopted a rule of “no meetings on Fridays,” generally understood to be flexible days. doing. Feedback from her team is that flexibility is more important than strict adherence to dates.
One of the caveats of the 4 days a week survey is that it is skewed toward small businesses. 4 Day Week Global researchers are in talks with large companies to roll out more pilots in 2023. Microsoft has experimented with a four-day work week in Japan and found productivity gains.