This Seattle startup shifted to a 4-day work week due to the pandemic — here's what happened – GeekWire

This Seattle startup shifted to a 4-day work week due to the pandemic — here’s what happened – GeekWire

This Seattle startup shifted to a 4-day work week due to the pandemic — here’s what happened – GeekWire

Volt CEO Dan Giuliani. (Volt Photo)

The pandemic is changing the way we think about work — not only where, but on what days.

Seattle startup Volt already shifted to a remote work policy in early March as COVID-19 began spreading across the U.S.

Then, after polling employees about the changing dynamics of a work-from-home lifestyle, Volt switched to a four-day work week.

The result? Higher job satisfaction and the same, if not higher, productivity levels.

“So let’s total this all up,” Volt CEO Dan Giuliani wrote in a blog post. “Less time working + more productivity = happier employees. It’s not rocket science, but it sure is music to my ears.”

After a six-week experiment, Volt permanently switched to its new “Flex Fridays” policy. The company, which sells a fitness training app platform, is giving employees Friday off as long as they do their best to “maintain the productivity levels of a typical five-day work week.”

“We removed 20% of the required time at work and not a single employee felt it decreased the overall level of company productivity,” Giuliani said. “That’s wild.”

Giuliani said the idea came about after he found himself more exhausted on Monday mornings and feeling like he was “wasting” Friday, which used to be a fun and energetic day when his 24-person team was in the office.

“There’s just something different about work and life in 2020,” he said. “Maybe it’s the Groundhog Day feeling of working from home or the accumulating stress of dealing with BOTH a global pandemic and an immensely fraught political climate at the same time. Or maybe there’s a fundamental difference in each hour of remote work as compared to the equivalent hour of work in the office.”

The CEO said he was previously a “four-day skeptic,” but not anymore.

The idea of a 4-day work week is not new, but has gained momentum this year due to the pandemic. Former presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang is a big supporter, telling Business Insider earlier this month that the 4-day work week could be more important than ever.

Other companies such as TripAdvisor and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt moved to a temporary 4-day work week this year, NBC reported. The shift can also help companies save labor costs.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden in May suggested companies could shift to the 4-day work week to boost the domestic tourism industry.

Microsoft introduced a program called “Work Life Choice Challenge” last year in Japan, shutting down offices every Friday in August to give employees an extra day off each week. As time at work was cut, Microsoft saw productivity — measured by sales per employee — jump by 40% compared to the same period from the year before. Employees were not only encouraged to take an extra day off, they were told to keep meetings shorter (no longer than 30 minutes) and spend less time responding to email, communicating via a Microsoft messaging app instead.

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