Dreaming of a three-day vacation every weekend? For some workers, this is already a reality.
Elise McCave, head of Kickstarter, said the crowdfunding platform never works on Fridays since the move to a 32-hour work week, as many companies experiment with flexible schedules that allow employees to decide where, when and even how often they work.
Once a rare perk at a handful of primarily tech-focused firms, remote and hybrid work is now common in many industries. This new flexibility has made some workers happier and more productive, prompting some employers to rethink other norms, such as how often we work and what constitutes a “full-time” schedule.
In March 2020, when the pandemic first started, Kickstarter sent all of its employees home to work remotely. Today, the Brooklyn, New York-based company remains an entirely remote business.
Last April, the company took another bold step: It switched to a four-day, 32-hour work week while paying workers full wages.
“We’re giving people that day off. We’ve kept wages the same, we’re paying them above market. We’ve kept benefits the same — we’re giving people a week off to get a good night’s rest,” said John Leland, CEO. strategy officer and head of sustainability at Kickstarter. “That way, when they come to work, they’re more focused.”
McCave uses his bonus day off from work to do chores like doing taxes or doing laundry, so he’s “ready to roll” on Monday, he told CBS News. McCave also said the shortened work week gives him a sense of balance afterward pandemic eliminated old work habits.
Not a new concept
Although the idea of a four-day work week may seem progressive, it is not. Nearly a century ago, Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, discovered that production workers could produce more car parts in less time. As a result, he reduced their work week from six days to five.
Kickstarter said it’s also benefiting from reduced hours.
“So far, we’re doing much better than historically. The employees are happy. We’re a much stronger company now,” Leland said.
“And in fact, we’re hiring and growing at a time when many companies in our industry are laying off people,” he added.
Kickstarter isn’t alone in testing the four-day work week. Data from the pilot program the ultimate experiment of the four-day work week around the world shows that a shorter work week can help boost incomes and retain workers. More than 60 companies in the UK, with a total of around 3,000 employees, participated in the court sessionit lasted from June to December last year.
While companies’ revenues changed little over the course of the six-month trial, total revenue during the period was 35% higher on average than a year earlier, the findings show. Employee retention rates have also increased, while turnover has decreased.
Overall, 92% of UK research firms said they would continue with the four-day working week after the trial period.
“it’ll be fine”
There are also some state and local governments in the US moving to a four-day work week. Prospect Park, New Jersey, about 20 miles west of New York City, began its own trial of a four-day work week last month. Full-time employees still work 40 hours per week, but reduced to four days; most city workers have Fridays off.
“Prospect Park is a blue-chip city, so people are working shift hours,” Mayor Mohamed Kairullah told CBS News. “Therefore, it is more convenient for our residents to have the opportunity to visit the municipal building now until 6:30 p.m.
City employees say it’s convenient for them too.
Heidi Amaral, Prospect Park’s code enforcement officer, said the new schedule will allow her to spend more time at home with her family.
“It’s great. It gives me more time with my family on Friday. It gives me an extra day if I just want to travel. So I think it’s going to work out. It’s going to be good,” he said.