A Tech Startup Has Implemented a 4-Day Workweek

Posted by Sheena Allen in CareerJanuary 17, 2022(Last Updated July 26, 2022)3 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Ryan Breslow, CEO of tech startup Bolt, has changed its working schedule for its employees to four days instead of five.
  • Breslow’s reasoning behind this schedule modification was to improve the workers’ productivity.
  • A shorter workweek allows the employees to have a better work-life balance, enabling them to work more efficiently during the four-day workweek.
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Ryan Breslow, CEO of tech startup Bolt, mentioned that he had implemented a permanent change to his company’s work schedule. Instead of the traditional 5-day working week, his company will now have a four-day workweek, allowing employees and employers to have an additional day off. Although Bolt is not the first company in the United States to adopt a four-day workweek, this decision was because of ‘selfish reasons,’ according to Breslow.

 

Why Bolt Chose to Shorten its Workweek

 

The main objective is to ensure its employees and employers are working productively during the workweek. However, towards the end of the week, some companies could see a deterioration in productivity amongst their employees. Thus, Breslow tested how giving employees an extra day off could improve or hinder their productivity. 

 

 

Ryan Breslow, Bolt's CEO, said he noticed productivity decreased greatly near the end of the week.

 

Breslow held a pilot program to see whether or not the three-day weekend would be effective. The pilot program ran for three months, and it displayed very promising results, causing Bolt to implement the 4-day workweek permanently.

 

Impacts of this Decision

 

The pilot program determined that 84% of employees approved the shorter workweek. In addition, many employees mentioned that the three-day weekend allowed for a better work-life balance, causing them to be more productive at work. 

 

One key factor Breslow pointed out during an interview with CNN was although the number of working days was decreasing, it did not mean employees were reduced to working 32 hours a week instead of the usual 40 hours. Breslow noted that the number of hours worked was not important, but the impact during the hours worked was. 

 

He mentioned that he cares more about the impact made when working in his company than measuring the number of hours worked. Breslow mentioned that one flaw with several companies is that their current working environment focuses on looking like they’re working instead of delivering results. Therefore, his employees can provide better working results in fewer days with higher productivity levels by implementing the four-day workweek. 

 

What This Means for the Future of Work

 

As there have been studies conducted in the past relating to the positive correlation between 4-day working weeks and productivity, it is a possibility that more companies will be implementing this working method. 

 

The 4-day workweek option has tested out by other companies prior to Bolt. They found that productivity increased with less workdays.

 

For example, back in 2018, New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian experimented with the possibility of implementing a four-day working week and saw that their productivity increased by 20%. Furthermore, Microsoft Japan conducted a similar study during the pandemic and determined that their workers’ productivity increased by 40%.

 

These previous experiments have demonstrated that employees tend to be more productive in a shorter workweek. Therefore, it is a strong possibility that a four-day workweek could become the norm going forward.

 

Employees typically enjoy having more days off as it allows them to have more time to mentally reset and be refreshed for the upcoming week. Furthermore, implementing a shorter workweek at Bolt shows promise that productivity could rise. 

 

However, one primary concern regarding shorter workweeks is that employees may resort to the same level of productivity with the shorter workweek, effectively taking away its purpose. Although there is no clear indication as to whether or not these shorter workweeks will be working for the companies that choose to implement them, time will tell whether or not this will be an effective method to increase productivity within the workplace.

 

What are your thoughts on the shorter workweek? Do you think more companies should implement the four-day workweek for their employees? Let us know in the comments below.

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