Our Four-Day Work Week
(Update: Though I mentioned it on Twitter, I neglected to make reference here that I was inspired to write this post by a similar one written by Cameron Moll.)
Ever since Angela and I started Unit in 2007, we’ve made four-and-a-half day work weeks the norm. Our reasoning for this schedule is twofold. First, we find it simply doesn’t take five full days each week to accomplish our work, provided we work smartly. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a quality-of-life choice.
One of the fundamental tenets of our practice is to cultivate a high quality of life for ourselves and our team. We’ve learned that our quality of life is improved significantly when the work week is shorter, allowing us to spend more time with our families, on individual pursuits, and away from the rigorously-professional processes of work life. While all of us here greatly enjoy our work, we value the idea of responsibly fitting work into our lives, and not the other way around.
We have rules for Fridays. No project launches, no discovery meetings, in fact no meetings of any kind. Friday is when the pressure valve is opened, not tightened. Working smartly, most of our project work is accomplished in just four days. There are exceptions, but Friday half-days here are often when folks use the structure of office time to work on personal projects, to write articles or blog posts, or to catch up on things left behind by the sometimes overly-structured activities of the work week.
It’s worth noting that we’re able to make this sort of schedule work because we run a tight ship here at Unit. Everyone on our team works in a highly-organized manner and runs his or her projects such that everyone involved—our our side and the client’s side—knows exactly what’s being accomplished, by whom, and when it is due. This along with clear and regular communication among those involved in projects ensures that there are no loose ends that invite unnecessary interruptions or crises on Friday afternoon. In short, if the phone rings on Friday, it’s a new inquiry and not a current client.
Our folks value how we structure the week and how it allows for no-pressure, half-day Fridays here, and that pays off in plenty of tangibles and intangibles for all of us. If you employ the requisite organization and professional practices, there’s no reason you can’t do the same and enjoy the many benefits that come from this sort of schedule. I wholeheartedly recommend it.