How We Implemented a Four-Day Workweek and What We Learned
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In April of 2022, we decided to move to a four-day workweek. We’d heard the success stories, read the research, and were excited to see what it could do for our employees and our business. Since then, we’ve learned a lot—and we’re happy to share the lessons we’ve taken away from our journey. Read on to learn why we adopted a four-day workweek, how we made the switch, and what we’ve learned after almost a full year.
The decision to move to a four-day workweek
The decision to move to a four-day workweek came at a time of massive growth for Qwick. We’d seen our team grow by 667% the year leading up to the shift, and were one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. The team sprinted every week, working hard to build, innovate, and bring Qwick to as many people as possible. We looked around at our business—at ourselves—and asked, “Is this sustainable?” There will always be more to tackle: more goals, more deadlines, more sprints. But if you don’t take time to rest, you’ll burn out.
Not only were we looking for a sustainable way to continue our growth, but we care deeply about our team and our reputation as a great place to work. When we looked at our cultural values, including “we are human” and “hustle responsibly”, we saw that the four-day workweek aligned well and would help us live out our values that much more. People are at the center of everything we do, and our team’s health and happiness are just as important as our bottom line.
Speaking of our bottom line, we believed the four-day workweek pilot would help that too. We entered the pilot excited to test our hypothesis: In just 32 working hours per week, our team will be more efficient and more creative in their work while achieving the same amount of productivity, if not more.
Implementing a four-day workweek
So, what does a four-day workweek actually look like at Qwick? A majority of the team works Monday-Thursday, with Fridays off. Certain teams that interface directly with our freelancers and business partners work on rotating schedules so we can support the Qwick network seven days a week. No matter what your working days are, you can still enjoy three consecutive days off each week.
We often get asked if our team works four 10-hour days, and the answer is no. We encourage the team to work smarter in the hours that they have, then take time to disconnect. We see the goal of a four-day workweek as working fewer total hours, not just a condensed 40-hour week. Of course, as with any job, some weeks are busier than others. People may choose to hop online for a few hours on a Friday to catch up, get organized, or get ahead, but this is never the expectation. We hire adults and allow them to manage their time however suits them and their work the best.
When first implementing the four-day workweek, we had to take a hard look at how we were spending our time. We conducted calendar audits to see where we could be more efficient and make the most of our bookable hours in the day. Every single meeting was evaluated, and many were deleted altogether. For those that stayed, we streamlined them and put a greater emphasis on meeting agendas to ensure any time spent was focused and productive. We encouraged a schedule across teams that included dedicated blocks of focus time and other days/times more centered around collaboration.
Qwick is a tech company, and we leaned into this to make the four-day workweek possible. There is more technology at our fingertips now than at any point in history, and we intend to use it to our advantage. Processes that could be automated were, and our team found inventive ways to be smarter with their time.
To make the four-day workweek work for Qwick, there was also a significant mindset shift that had to occur. In today’s hustle-dominated work culture, it’s easy to feel that you always need to be doing more. But more hours do not mean better work. In fact, there comes a point where your quality of work, and especially your creativity, starts to decline rapidly. We want Qwick to be a place where talented people can do their best and most creative work, and do that by hustling responsibly.
Modeling from the top is also imperative in a culture shift like the four-day workweek. How can employees feel comfortable taking their day off when their boss is constantly online or pinging them for things? They can’t. We rely on leadership to model healthy boundaries and work/life balance so that everyone can confidently participate in the four-day workweek.
Finally, we needed to find a way to track our experience with the four-day workweek. We already sent out quarterly surveys measuring employee well-being and metrics like employee net promoter score, so we further tailored these to include questions specific to the four-day workweek. Employee responses were tracked along with other business KPI’s such as overall business growth and customer ratings.
Challenges along the way
Implementing an innovative practice like the four-day workweek does not come without challenges, some of which we didn’t anticipate.
Qwick HQ closes for 11 different holidays throughout the year, and we’ve had to get creative as to how we balance the four-day workweek with these observances. Take Memorial Day, for example—Monday the office is closed and if we took Friday off we’d only have three days (or 24 working hours) that week. As you can see, that starts looking much more concerning for our work output as a rapidly growing tech company.
On weeks with holidays, our working days shift to accommodate whatever that day off is. So for Memorial Day, we have Monday off, and our team will work Tuesday to Friday that week. That schedule also means we have a four-day weekend, followed by a two-day weekend. It’s not the most ideal, but it’s the best way we’ve found to balance things. It’s also a highly seasonal challenge, as it’s most notable in the summer months with Memorial Day, Juneteenth, and Independence Day in quick succession.
More challenging for certain teams
The four-day workweek has proved to be more challenging for certain teams to adopt than others. Our operations and demand teams work most directly with the Qwick network supporting users' day-to-day needs, and we serve the hospitality industry, so business tends to ramp up on the weekends. Even with shifting schedules to allow for coverage during these busier times, it can be harder for individuals on these teams to fully unplug depending on what large events we’re supporting.
As we continue expanding across the country, we’re also finding that more of our team is dispersed and working in different time zones. This makes scheduling more difficult, as the number of available meeting hours in the day shrinks even more. It hasn’t been unmanageable but is worth noting.
Requires time to test
When we first announced the four-day workweek we intended to pilot it for four months, then evaluate its success and iterate if needed. What we didn’t consider is that our business is affected by seasonality. To fully understand how our team and business function on a four-day workweek, we needed more time to be able to draw any worthwhile conclusions. Now that we’re approaching the year mark, we are in a much better place to evaluate the impact of a four-day workweek.
Learnings after (almost) a year of the four-day workweek
Greater balance, less stress
Despite a few challenges along the way, our experience with the four-day workweek has been overwhelmingly positive. Qwick employees report greater work/life balance, increased ability to creatively solve problems, and higher ratings of individual job performance. 96% of employees say that they feel rested and ready for work on Mondays after their three-day weekend. And once the week is underway, data tells us our team is less stressed during working hours.
We've also seen a great response to the four-day workweek when it comes to hiring. We saw a 230% boost in applications after implementation, and along with our competitive pay and benefits, the four-day workweek has helped us attract and retain the best talent.
We attribute the success of our four-day workweek to the culture we’ve built at Qwick. We hire adults and treat them as such. We trust our team to act in the best interest of Qwick, excel in their roles, and drive the company forward. We take great care to create a workplace free from unnecessary rules, policies, or red tape. As a result, we’ve created an environment where you really can hustle responsibly, be human, and be motivated to produce your very best work.
Hustling responsibly still requires hustle
Not only do we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, but as employees of Qwick, we have a responsibility to our business, our shareholders, our community, and each other. Our four-day workweek doesn’t mean that we work any less intensely Monday through Thursday. In fact, it means we have to be even more focused and disciplined during our working hours. When we’re online, we’re locked in and sprinting toward our goals. It’s important that everyone has a shared understanding of this, especially new team members.
We’re changing the way people work
Our team continues to produce great results in their shorter week, while living healthier, balanced lives. We’ve learned that a four-day workweek can be a great decision for the success of your business—as long as you have the culture and team to back it up.
If you’d like to experience the benefits of a four-day workweek first-hand, head to our careers page and check out our open roles. We’re hiring and we’d love to meet you!