The four-day workweek, also known as the “compressed workweek,” has been gaining popularity as a way to improve employee productivity and well-being while also benefiting the environment. Over the summer of 2022, BizStream decided to give the shortened workweek a try for 13 weeks. We did this by shortening our weekly meetings and reducing our utilization goals. Like everything, there are tradeoffs, but overall, it was a beneficial experiment that we’ll likely be trying again. After switching back to 40-hour workweeks, we held a company-wide discussion and poll about what worked, what didn’t, what our goals are for next time, and the benefits.
The post-experiment survey results showed overwhelming support, with 100% of the participants saying they would like to try it again. Some of the benefits specifically mentioned were reduced stress and burnout, which was largely attributed to the long weekend or shorter days, depending on how the 32 hours were split throughout the week. As a result, participants mentioned feeling more refreshed and productive while at work.
The extra day also allowed teams to schedule team bonding activities. Go-Karts, axe throwing, and a trip to Dave and Busters are just a few examples of the activities that teams enjoyed together.
Personally, I found the compressed workweek extremely beneficial. I was able to schedule appointments, run errands, take more time to be with my kids, and volunteer. Having that extra time to focus on my family and myself was amazing.
Despite the overwhelming support for the shorter workweek, there were some issues mentioned. These include elevated stress levels in client-facing employees and team managers, less time for teams to communicate, and any issues with professionalism were amplified in the compressed workweek. For example, showing up late in a shorter week has a much bigger impact on the team since they have less time together. The same is true for any issues with communication. For example, if team members are not clearly communicating with each other, then any problems that arise from that will be felt more acutely in a shorter time frame.
The post-experiment survey clearly identified some improvements we could make to ensure future 4-day workweeks go more smoothly. Here’s what we learned:
First attempts sometimes go poorly. No matter how much thought and planning go into something, there are almost always unforeseen issues. What matters is how you react to them and what you learn. BizSteam clearly learned a lot from this experience and is dedicated to making future attempts work better.
With 100% of the survey participants saying they would like to do it again, there have been a couple of ideas put forward to make that happen. One of the ideas is to work a 36-hour workweek instead of 32. This would still allow for shorter days while also keeping BizStream open on Fridays. Overall, BizStream has shown that the four day workweek, while tricky at times, is completely doable. In addition, the increased time away from the office allows our team members to slow down and spend time with their families or get out and enjoy our short (but sweet) Michigan summers.
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