How our 4-day work week is going

Last summer we transitioned to a 4-day work week. Here’s how it’s been going.

We have seen that shifting from the traditional five-day work week to a four-day schedule has helped boost productivity by allowing us to reduce weekend-tasks: dedicating more time during the week for those activities. This has helped free up more time on the weekend to focus on hobbies and recharging – instead of trying to cram all non-work-related tasks to the weekday evenings and weekends.

Our early analysis points to a promising trend: increased efficiency and client satisfaction as we continue with the 4-day work week. Moving forward, we plan to further analyze the potential causal factors and their broader implications for optimizing work-life balance and employee productivity.

How we transitioned into a shorter week

We expected the start of the trial to be rocky for our teams that perform hourly work 

While the first few weeks of the trial were more tumultuous for some of our team members, we had already been easing ourselves into a shorter work week for years. Prior to 2020, those of us in the Chicago office would all go out to lunch together on Fridays, and everyone knocked off early for summer Fridays. 

A few steps we took to ease the transition to 4-day work:

  • Were expanded to Pandemic Fridays, which meant a 6-hour workday. 
  • In the months leading up to the trial, we gradually decreased the number of hours we worked on Fridays. By June 2023, we were decreasing from 3 hours on Fridays to zero.
  • We started blocking off Friday as a meeting-free day leading up to the change.

Survey results of our first quarterly check-in

Before we began piloting the 4dww, we planned quarterly check-ins to take the temperature of the team. Our first survey results were quite telling, many people felt more stressed but everyone wanted to continue with the trail.

Here are a few specifics from our internal survey

How has your work stress been since we started the shorter work week in June?

  • More – 35%
  • Less – 41%
  • Same – 24%

Do you feel too busy or overwhelmed at work? 

  • No – 59%
  • Yes – 41%

Do you think the 4dww is sustainable?

  • Yes – 100%
  • No – 0%

It’s telling that nearly half of our team felt too busy or overwhelmed and yet 100% of us felt the 4dww was sustainable. Looking deeply at the responses, most of our team who felt overwhelmed felt like it was either a temporary bump in work that would subside, or that they were still working out their new routines. 

Stories of working and living a 4dww

“The implementation of a four-day work week has proven to be exceptionally advantageous for me both on a professional and personal level. Primarily, the extended three-day weekend has afforded me a genuine sense of rejuvenation upon returning to the workplace. This renewed energy has translated into a heightened enthusiasm to tackle tasks promptly, fostering a productive start to each workweek.

From a professional standpoint, the condensed work schedule has prompted an enhancement in the quality of my work. The necessity to manage my time more efficiently within the four-day framework has sharpened my organizational skills, resulting in a more focused and clear-minded approach to my responsibilities. This, in turn, has positioned me in the healthiest professional state I have ever experienced.

On the client success front, the four-day work week has introduced a structured rhythm to our client meetings and overall communication management. The streamlined schedule has proven instrumental in ensuring effective client engagement and communication.

Moreover, on a personal note, the additional day off has provided me with the opportunity to redirect my focus towards my external passions, such as photography and non-profit work. These pursuits, often relegated to the background in the past, now receive the attention and dedication they deserve, contributing to a more balanced and fulfilling personal life.” – Pilot team member

I’ve been golfing nearly every Friday and loving it. I also now am able to do the grocery shopping for us on Friday which means we don’t have to do it after work or on the weekend, and it’s just far more enjoyable to not have to spend that “free” time doing that. – Pilot team member

I haven’t really traveled, but I have spent Fridays doing stuff like meeting up with family, friends for lunch or to hang out. I’ve also been scheduling appointments on Fridays, but I may stop doing that and will work them into a normal work week and take off time if needed. I would like to volunteer some and do more fun things like go to a movie, travel, or something more spontaneous on a Friday. – Pilot team member

Other important lessons

4dww requires flexibility

Pilot has always offered its employees flexibility in working hours. While most of us choose to work 9-5, some people find they are more productive in the evenings and start their workdays closer to noon. We encourage our employees to find what worked best for them with the shorter work week. For instance: one of our PPC managers preferred to knock off a couple hours early on Thursdays to accommodate his band practice, and then made up the two hours of work on Fridays.

The key point we had to get across was that if you do choose to work on a Friday, keep your internal communications to a bare minimum.

The shortened week didn’t affect productivity or client satisfaction.

Reduction in hours without a reduction in pay or benefits was crucial to our trial.  Nearly all of the research and studies we utilized to build our own framework worked around this model. Pilot has grown twofold in the last four years, but we were and are still a  small company. This led us to feel like there was a very little margin for error.

Internal tracking and setting company goals

At Pilot we practice Open Book Management, so we actively keep track of distinct line items that we create as a team in order to meet our company goals. These line items help keep our business moving forward in a lot of different aspects. We meet monthly to review the numbers from the previous month so everyone has an idea of how each line is being managed. 

Since starting the 4-day work week, we’ve seen notable progression for the following line items:

  • Percent of past-due tasks: down from 17% in July, to 9% in December
  • Average ticket resolution time: went from 21 days to 10 days (June to October)
  • Average client satisfaction – since we started surveying clients for overall satisfaction with our services in October 2023, our rolling average is 8.6 out of 10.

Overall sentiment and thoughts on the 4-day work week

After the first couple of months of the trial, we came to the unanimous decision to move to a 4-day work week permanently. Having Fridays off allows many of us to more deeply engage in our hobbies, attend therapy, catch up on sleep, spend time with loved ones, and volunteer in our communities. Those of us who have felt stressed or burned out are feeling weight start to lift. If anything, our productivity has increased with the shorter work week. We’re happier people in our day to day lives, and we are more productive employees because of it.


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