I live in this weird middle where during the week, I can’t imagine a day off (because I love my work) and once the weekend hits, I can’t imagine going back to work. It’s like this flip flop of life tasks and how I move through my days that makes me love both workdays and weekends so wholeheartedly, so figuring out the right blend of the two? Well, it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot.
The idea of a 4-day workweek has been on my mind for well over a year. When I had my second daughter, Quinn, last November, it became even more clear how limited my focused time to work was becoming. As much as I LOVE to work, I’ve found that spending less, but more concentrated, time working is such a smart approach.
However, realistically, I haven’t been able to give the 4-day workweek a try until this month! While I’ve been craving a slower, more intentional work schedule for a long time, let’s be real… when you work from home, run your own business, and have a newborn, you work in any and all pockets of time you can find. Especially so when you have your first book coming out!
All this year, my finish line I’ve been running toward has been the launch of my book, “How Are You, Really?” Now that it’s out as of June, and (hopefully!) in your hands, I feel like I’ve been able to take this massive, full-body exhale. Ahhhh, everything I’ve been working toward for the past two years is here, out in the world and hearts and homes of those it’s meant for. It’s pretty surreal! And let’s just say… this mama is ready to sloooow way down now. Finally.
The benefits of a 4-day workweek
Now that I finally have the mental space and bandwidth to test run the 4-day workweek, I can’t tell you how excited I am. I read (well, actually listened to) the book “Shorter: Work Better, Smarter, and Less—Here’s How” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang a while back and have done tons of outside research on this truncated workweek approach. A few of my full-time team members have even been testing it out this year, too, because the benefits are truly incredible… and not just for our own mental health and happiness, but also for business productivity!
Check out these 4-day workweek benefits:
- Better productivity: 60% of organizations that move to this set-up report higher productivity and greater employee satisfaction, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
- Lower overhead: Research shows that employees takes fewer sick days and are generally more productive. (Plus, if you have a physical office, you may have to spend less on office supplies, electricity, etc.)
- Improved work-life balance: I know, I know… “balance” isn’t exactly the goal or ever perfectly achievable. But doesn’t it feel off kilter that we spend 5 days a week working with just 2 for personal and family life? Research shows that employee wellness improves when a 4-day workweek is implemented.
And this all makes sense, doesn’t it?! Spending one less day a week working gives us time to care for the other important things in our lives: our families, homes, health, and beyond. It gives us a whole day more of margin to either rest or take care of responsibilities that inevitably add up when you spend 5 days a week working hard.
When we feel like we actually have the time to manage our home and personal lives, it almost creates this surge or boost of motivation to perform well during the time you ARE at work (hence, the heightened productivity). It’s magic, I’m telling ya!
Our tips + approach to the 4-day workweek at Team JK
So, obviously, much of the research performed on the 4-day workweek has been done on large, corporate, in-person organizations. As a small, online business with a remote team, we wanted to try this out and do so realistically with our different business format. Here are a few things we’ve kept in mind during the transition!
1. Don’t expect to cram 5 days’ work into 4.
One of the biggest misconceptions here is that instead of working 40 hours spread amongst the week, you cram those hours into four days but that’s simply not the case. The 4-day workweek is all about working SMARTER, not harder. We’re not trying to hustle and jam 10 hours of work into the 4 workdays of the week. Nooo, no, no… that would lead to the same (or even greater) amount of burnout, and fast. Instead, we’ve focused on finding ways to streamline, automate, delegate, and remove any small, unnecessary tasks from our plates so that the days we’re spending working, we can just focus and get the most important things done without overextending ourselves.
2. Figure out communication for the “off” day.
My team members who are doing the 4-day workweek (now including me!) take Friday off, but in a lot of the business world, people are still emailing and communicating on Fridays. We made sure to set up a system so that people aren’t just left hanging if they try to get in touch on a Friday. My own email has an autoresponder set up that answers frequently asked questions and points people in the right direction if they need something urgently.
We also try to communicate with any colleagues and set up meetings and other important correspondence earlier in the week with a reminder that we’ll be offline on Friday for any outstanding needs. And, at the end of the day… if someone goes unanswered on a Friday, it’s usually not the end of the world! Monday will be here before we know it, and most of our requests aren’t so urgent that they need that immediate response anyway.
3. Set clear boundaries and trust the team.
The biggest piece of transitioning to a 4-day workweek is to set clear expectations and boundaries for yourself and your team. My team knows what they can and should expect from me, and I know the deliverables to expect from them. Having those guardrails in place lets everyone perform to the best of their ability and shine in their genius zone without needing hand-holding or micromanagement. We’ve always operated in this way but transitioning to the 4-day workweek requires just a bit more trust and communication to ensure everyone has what they need and feels equipped to accomplish their tasks.
Curious about giving the 4-day workweek a try, too? Whether you run your own biz or work for someone else, it’s no secret that this approach has resounding benefits. (And if you do work for someone else, it never hurts to pitch something like this and bring your superiors the research to back up why it’s so great!) I’ll share another update on this soon as we get back into this groove post-book launch! I am absolutely loving the little bit of extra freedom and wiggle room it gives me to spend time doing things other than work that matter just as much… and that’s worth it, to me.