We're moving to a permanent 4 day work week 🎉

June 3, 2022

Author

Mike Arney
Designer & Founder

Article

I have to confess that since March 1st of 2022, we’ve been running an experiment. Every week at Halftone we’ve been working 32 hours, not 40…Monday through Thursday… We’ve had every Friday off. 

It’s been 12 weeks – here are the results of our experiment:

How have our clients reacted? 

I was worried about this…What would they think? Would they consider us to be under-serving their interests? Would they think we’re lazy, uncommitted, poor partners, non-producers? The answer is that there has been NO NEGATIVE CHANGE. I believe the quality of our work has increased, and our partnerships are stronger than ever. How is that possible?

  • Our output in a shorter time window has significantly increased in both quality of work and communication
  • We’re more rested, less stressed
  • Our clients are (still) happy with our services
  • Work is getting done on time
  • Nothing has changed. We’re more efficient, and (I believe) more committed and focused on our work

Will we continue?

Yes, we’re keeping it going…3 months is plenty of time to run an experiment like this. We’ve been through most all agency phases of “slow time” vs. “busy time” and have fared well in both conditions. There will be additional challenges ahead, but we’re ready!

Did employee salary change?

Nope, and it will continue to increase. Also, we started adding new benefits that we were not able to offer prior.

Why did we switch? 

We’re small - 7 people. I can’t compete with a 50% raise, but we can be much more flexible than larger companies in other ways. This is where I believe the rest of the world will be moving anyway - we may as well get in front of it. Work-life balance is mostly talk, but it’s not when you do something about the math.  What is closer to balanced: 5-2 or 4-3?

What is your PTO policy now?

Before this, we had an unlimited PTO policy, after the experiment we’ve decided on…keeping the unlimited PTO policy with a minimum of 8 work days per year mandatory PTO. 

What happens if our clients demand we deliver and we have to put in a few full Friday’s?

We’ll deliver for our clients, and we’ll compensate our people for the extra effort via additional time off. We’ve been taking meetings here and there on Friday (though I’ve probably only worked 5 hours total over the last 3 months on Fridays). We’re not inflexible and realize that there are concessions that need to be made when our clients are working different schedules.

In summary, our new core working arrangement is 32 hours a week (M - Th), fully remote, unlimited PTO, and it’s working really well! 

What else would you like to know? I’d love to help other companies in their quest to transition to a 4 day work week 😊

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