We’re piloting a 4-day work week

In 1930, economist Meynard Keynes famously opined that by 2030 we could be working 15 hours a week. He thought that because of technological advances and gains in productivity people would need to work less to meet their absolute needs. 

Clearly he was wrong, but why? It turns out that, for the most part, we’re using our productivity gains to buy more stuff

In Productivity and the Workweek, Erik Rauch noted that a worker in 2000 only needed to work 11 hours to create the same output as someone working 40 hours in 1950. 

  • What is all of our productivity for if we’re working the same amount of hours? 
  • What if, instead of using productivity increases to buy more stuff, we used them to get more time instead?

Less growth, more time.

As a people-first company, we consider our employees people with more to our lives than just our jobs. We don’t value growth for growth’s sake. Instead, we’re striving for better. Better service, better quality of work, and yes, a better workplace. 

Our workplace culture has always valued our employees’ physical, mental, and emotional health before productivity. When we take care of ourselves outside of work, we are more capable of showing up fully in our jobs. 

A four-day work week can really work. 

According to the world’s largest four-day workweek trial, which included 2900 workers from 61 companies in the UK, a four day work week was superior to five. They found that working four days led to:

  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Improved work-life balance
  • Reduced employee stress
  • Improved quality of customer service
  • Reduction in absences and sick days

Planning for the four-day work week at Pilot

Before the pandemic, we practiced Summer Fridays, leaving work at 2pm on Friday from Memorial day to Labor day. During COVID, Summer Fridays became “Pandemic Fridays,” with everyone working until 2pm on Fridays year-round. Recently, we started dedicating one Friday a month to volunteering in our communities. 

Transitioning to a four-day work week feels, to all of us, like the natural next step in creating more work-life balance for our employees. And, we’ll continue to volunteer one Friday a month.

Gathering internal data to make it work

To get a baseline understanding of how a 4-day work week trial would affect our company, we knew we needed numbers. We attempted a weekly all-company survey in the hope of gathering data that could later be used to compare employee’s experiences of productivity and burnout during the trial.

From that, we needed to ask ourselves a few questions:

  • Were people even interested in having a 4-day work week?
  • How would people spend their extra time?
  • Is there enough company support in place for people to feel comfortable working only four days per week?
  • How are we going to handle client communications on off days? 
  • How are we going to communicate this transition to our clients?

Our conversations continue to evolve as we consider more aspects of our company that could be affected.

Putting more infrastructure in place to make it work

We learned through our research and planning that we needed to streamline our operations, improve communication, put in place tools and best practices for asynchronous work, and much much more if our 4-day work week trial was going to succeed.

New ticketing system

To better track issues with websites and customer requests, we instituted a ticketing system to track, manage, and communicate around issues. This will create more visibility for clients and internally for all on-going issues. We can also measure ticket response time and resolution times to track performance. Websites can break, these things are inevitable, but we’ll be no less equipped to handle them during this transition.

On-call schedules

There aren’t many true emergencies in the online marketing world. But sometimes websites do crash or get hacked. For those occasions, we’ve put together an on-call team here for clients who need something on Fridays. 

Better meeting practices

Because we have less time to do our work, we’re being more strategic about scheduling meetings. We’re implementing better meeting management practices to get more done in less time, and we’re experimenting with chunking meetings together to allow for deeper, more productive work to get done when we aren’t in meetings.

Being responsive, listening to our clients

Our biggest fear about going to a 4-day work week is our ability to maintain our level of service to our clients. Yes, the research often shows that service improves, but it’s hard to see how working less is a means to get there.

We have metrics we’ll be monitoring internally—tasks behind schedule, ticket turnaround times, etc.—but we’re always available to receive feedback from our clients and welcome any questions they may have!

We’re excited to have the opportunity to perform this trial, to offer our employees more work-life balance, and for our people to have more time to do what they love outside of work! While it will look different for everybody, some of us are planning to revamp personal side-projects and businesses, pick up hobbies like photography and gardening, making music and art.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months as our team gets acclimated to the new schedule!


We learned that the few trials that failed either didn’t fully commit to the 4-day work week, or tried to introduce too much change at once. Here are a few resources that have helped guide our discussions, decisions, and overall mentality about moving towards a 4-day work week:

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