A 4-Day Work Week May Not Be as Far Off as You Think


As far as suggestions go, I’m not sure I’ve ever come across one so seemingly reasonable in theory, yet so gloriously decadent in practice. If you see her in the street, consider yourself duty-bound to offer a standing ovation while pelting her enthusiastically with red roses. I, personally, can barely type her name into Google without going misty-eyed. The Atlantic recently did a small video piece with Ryan Carson, CEO & founder of the online learning website Treehouse. He or she may be more open to the idea if you ask for a trial period, such as three months.

  • A lack of boundaries and workday structure can cause anxiety, underperformance, and burnout for employees.
  • For some teams, the increased flexibility and autonomy will simply make sense, but for others, it might be a luxury that’s just out of reach at the moment.
  • Micromanaging an employee is a waste of both their time and yours.

Smaller companies—which need to attract workers and may embrace startup culture—tend to be more flexible to flexible work hours. The National Study of Employers found that 14% of small companies vs. 5% of large ones allow all or most employees to work a compressed schedule. Similar success with reducing the workweek have been experienced around the globe from Iceland to New Zealand. A trial program in Iceland was such an “overwhelming success” that now 86 percent of the nation’s workforce are either now working fewer hours or in the process of reducing their workweek. Based on these statistics, it appears that most adults in the United States now have nearly the equivalent of a four-day workweek and that workers in some other nations have even more time on their hands. But in 2016, Carson reinstated a 40-hour workweek at Treehouse and had to lay people off.

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The evidence that a four-day workweek benefits both a company and its employees is undeniable. There is no magical working setup that solves all productivity problems. The four-day workweek is a potent tool, so if you can do the above, then the answer is definitely yes. The goal of a four-day workweek is an improvement in work-life balance and employee well-being. Regularly evaluate the impact of the new work arrangement on employee well-being. Check in with employees to assess their satisfaction, stress levels, and overall happiness.

  • Another valuable point is that your employees will feel cared for by the company and its owners.
  • Chicago-based project-management-app company Basecamp goes in for 32-hour weeks from May through August for employees who’ve been with the firm at least a year.
  • “Supervisors said staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks,” one of the researchers told The Times.
  • The company’s core belief revolves around a four-day workweek, where employees work for four days and enjoy three days off.
  • The trial was a resounding success — its employees were happier overall and more productive.
  • Use this feedback to continuously improve the work arrangement and adjust as necessary to ensure it benefits employees.

‘Are you going to talk about how it would be nice to actually work less, or are you going to do something about it? ‘ He is also right on the money when he says that the reason why most CEO’s don’t support reduced work weeks is that they themselves are workaholics. Here in Portland we take pride in doing things differently for good reason. Case in point is Treehouse, which is a successful an innovative online educational learning platform with over 135,000 online students worldwide. We aren’t required to automatically accept someone’s claim as the truth when the evidence suggests otherwise.

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However, it hasn’t worked out for everyone, as was the case for Treehouse, an online education company based in Oregon. Ryan Carson, founder and CEO of the company, implemented two radical ideas for his company, getting rid of the boss and reducing the workweek to four days. For many reasons, the concept of a four-day workweek is not appealing to everyone.


With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media. Especially for startups who need to maximize every single second they have. We’re out to revolutionize how people learn web design, web development, and iOS development taking students from zero to job-ready. The Atlantic shares their storyin ‘The Case for the 32-hour Workweek’ and talks with founder Ryan Carson as part of their ‘Atlantic Documentaries’ series. So make an appointment with your boss and tell him or her that you’re interested in a more flexible work arrangement.

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Will Stronge from Autonomy believes that a shorter workweek will address what he calls the “second shift” for working mothers, which includes housework, preparing meals, and tending to the children. But more than this it’s an interesting look at a modern 21st century company that’s building a framework for happy employees and profitability. This is a place for people who are or want to become Financially Independent , which means not having to work for money. Financial Independence is closely related to the concept of Early Retirement/Retiring Early – quitting your job/career and pursuing other activities with your time. At its core, FI/RE is about maximizing your savings rate (through less spending and/or higher income) to achieve FI and have the freedom to RE as fast as possible. I love that the CEO of Treehouse says it basically comes down to choice.

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His experience goes against the growing workplace trend of “work smarter, not harder,” and the idea that you can hack your productivity and put in less time at work for more, higher-quality output. Three years later, Carson still doesn’t hew to the 40-hour workweek. While it’s impossible to measure the relative effect of the 32-hour week on Treehouse’s performance since it adopted it from the outset, the company is growing at a healthy pace.

They might, for instance, take pleasure in interacting with coworkers or find their work so interesting that they don’t want to spend less time on it. There’s also the possibility that a compacted week could cause undue stress for some employees by making them feel like they’re always under the gun to get more done before their vacation ends. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that the average annual hours worked by employed people in 2020 were lowest in Germany at 1,332 (25.6 per week). Americans work an average of 1,767 hours , while Canadians work 1,664 hours . Among other places experimenting with four-day workweeks, those in the United Kingdom work 26 hours per week, Spaniards work 30 hours per week, and the Japanese work 31 hours per week. The idea behind a four-day workweek is to achieve the same results in fewer hours so people have more time to pursue other interests, spend time with loved ones, and manage their lives.

Over the last 22 years, I’ve led companies as Founder & CEO, and created thriving global communities. With its explosion of ideas and innovative tech, AI and web3 is poised to revolutionize the way we function as citizens of a tech-driven world. Just as web1 and web2 changed the world we live in, I believe AI and web3 is set to do the same. The business prioritizes remote work and offers location-neutral compensation.


“I think hard work is great,” how to write a receipt told The Atlantic in a recent video interview. “I mean, I work really hard, you know — Monday through Thursday.” YouTube’s privacy policy is available here and YouTube’s terms of service is available here.

Its current CEO, Ryan Carson, had previously implemented this technique in 2006. Publicly, he was singing the praises of the compacted week as recently as 2015, citing increased productivity and a more well-rounded existence as two of its advantages. Most of the workplaces ended up cutting back by only one to three hours a week, though they were able to maintain their productivity and provide the same level of service. The experiment did result in a nationwide decrease in hours worked, but only by 35 minutes in the private sector and 65 minutes in the public sector.

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Treehouse, opting for a 4-day week turned out to be an experiment – and nothing more. The company gave each employee a 32-hour week, letting them take Friday as a day off. However, the company dropped the policy after having to make layoffs – funding it unreconcilable to give some workers the sack while letting others work a shortened week. The main challenge with going for the 4-day week seems to be the flexibility. Both workers and managers need to be prepared to be flexible and support each other to make the transition work without giving extra stress and pressure on team members. It’s also, of course, a learning curve – each company is different and will need to make it work for their individual needs.

Treehouse CEO’s 32-hour workweek – Business Insider

Treehouse CEO’s 32-hour workweek.

Posted: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Encourage employees to collaborate with team members, delegate appropriate tasks, and leverage each other’s strengths to achieve collective goals. Continuous learning and professional development are essential for growth and success in any industry. You should invest in your employees’ development by providing opportunities for training, workshops, and skill-building programs.

A four-day week that requires people to work 10-hour days can be incompatible with wage regulations or prove too grueling for employees, failing to either improve productivity or save the company money. Of course, preferences may vary among employees based on their individual circumstances, job roles, and organizational cultures. Some employees may prefer a traditional five-day workweek, while others may find a four-day workweek challenging due to longer work hours on those four days or increased workload compression. Shake Shack, a popular fast-food chain in the United States, introduced a four-day workweek for their corporate office employees in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. As others have pointed out, the CEO killed the 4-day workweek for the entire company. Sure, he didn’t comment on his employees’ work ethic, but actions speak louder than words. In my opinion, it is still interesting to see him explain the change. That he doesn’t seem to have an explanation beyond “it’s not you it’s me” is still notable.

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