It’s helped us focus on the essentials

‘Working 32-hour weeks forced us to identify the essential components necessary to get our work done. We dropped a bunch of meetings and were very intentional with the ones that remained. Ruthless prioritisation became commonplace, and we focused on tackling fewer problems at better quality. Because we have the pressure of knowing we have one day less to work with each week, we’re less likely to succumb to procrastination – in the first year, the team overwhelmingly agreed that we had done more than we had in previous years.’

Customers need to be supported

‘In the beginning, we let people choose which day they took off – but it didn’t work. We learned that the real value of a four-day week comes from healthy pressure and forced downtime. Our support team alternate Mondays and Fridays off so they can still get three consecutive days away – and we can still support our customers on Fridays. With a three-day weekend, every person is poised to start work on their “Monday”. If people aren’t confident that they can get high-impact work done to provide the products and service our customers need, we’ll have to pivot.’

You need consistency in collaboration

‘When everyone was choosing a different day off, communication was patchy and progress stumbled. Working the same four days helped keep things moving. Asynchronous communication is essential for teams that are spread across time zones and that don’t have a regular nine-to-five schedule. Instead of daily stand-up meetings, we use automated, text-based check-ins. We’re more thoughtful about whether something is urgent enough to send a Slack message that could potentially disrupt someone else’s focus, or if it’s better to write an email. There’s no pressure to check email constantly and closing Slack completely is encouraged.’

It won’t work without shared goals

‘Four-day work weeks rely on trust – we set goals together and we review outcomes together. Our ultimate goal is to work less than 32 hours: sometimes we work more, sometimes we work dramatically less. It depends on what we’re trying to ship and why. Ultimately, it comes down to results and our ability to meet our goals. It’s a reality that many people don’t know how to evaluate their own success versus counting the hours they spend at their desks – having a performance-based way of measuring people’s performance is important.’

It’s made space for problem solving

‘There’s something unique about the fifth day being a quiet day. You can ruminate on problems in the back of your mind while you’re working on the deck or walking around the city or taking your kids on a camping trip. That can be hard when you work Monday through Friday, then become a weekend warrior. With the additional day off, we invariably spend time thinking about work problems. When Monday rolls around, we have so many things that we want to get started. It creates additional energy and momentum for the team.’

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