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The Naive Optimist, We work a 4-day week and just raised $4.75m

We work a 4-day week (M-Th, 9-6) because we think that information work isn’t like manufacturing. Another hour at the MacBook won’t yield another $1,000 in profit. We believe that smart folks can get five days of work done in four days. Simple as that.

There are so many benefits to working less it’s hard to list them all, but here are the major ones:

  1. Recruiting is easy (we still pay full salaries and offer a very generous benefits package).
  2. Retention is easier. One of Team told me he regularly gets emails from Facebook trying to win him over and his answer is always the same: “Do you work a 4-day week yet?”
  3. Morale is boosted. On Mondays everyone is fresh and excited – not jaded from working over the weekend.
  4. I get to spend 50% more time with my kids then almost all other dads (three days versus two). Fifty percent. It’s insane. For those on the Team without kids, they get to spend this extra 50% on their hobbies or loved ones. (Hat tip to its_so_on for correcting my math and making it even more awesome :D)

I love reading stories like this. I can only imagine how terrifying and difficult it would be to setup a company with rules and a culture like this. It’s so against the grain, so unbelievable that I’m sure any dip in business, any down period, results in internal and external questioning of the policies.

I love that it is challenging the real common strategy to dealing with the startup anxieties: the grind. Both myself, and others I’ve worked with in startups all have at one point “taken on” moments of anxiety by throwing more time at it, or trying to grind through it. Looking back, this is incredibly ineffective. When you deal with your anxieties by trying to work harder, you end up with poor work and being completely spent. I wonder if by taking away time (a day in the week) you take away that strategy, and force people to deal with the anxiety and pressures differently.

And I can only imagine what having a culture like this does for recruiting and employee retention…everyone wants to work there, and no one wants to leave. A powerful combination.

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