What would it feel like to wake up every work day excited to go to work?
When the sound of your alarm clock goes off, springing out of bed with the giddy excitement of a 10 year old at summer camp. The thrill of possibility rushing through your veins. The pure anticipation—you will get to learn something new, contribute and collaborate with others.
Playing together with your colleagues to imagine new things, and then create them.
Imagine how that would feel.
(Close your eyes. Take the time to really picture it.)
How close is the feeling you imagined to your typical work day? How close does the energy you imagined match with the energy you have when your alarm goes off? Or the energy you have sitting in your 4th meeting of the day? Or the energy you have while eating lunch at your desk, scrambling to get some work done between meetings?
What value would a shift to a work-as-summer camp feeling have on the quality of your life? What impact would it have on your happiness? What impact would it have on your relationships with your colleagues, friends, and family?
Some things are extremely hard to measure like love, or the value of a nurturing and playful work environment on your life, mental wellness, and your ability to contribute.
But sometimes, the hardest things to measure are the most important to our happiness.
One thing the pandemic revealed was that our work-life balance hasn’t been very balanced at all. We have been stressed out. We have been tired. So we can’t show up 100% for our families when we’re home. So we can’t show up 100% for our team when at work. One idea to help reduce stress and burnout is to shorten the work week.
That’s exactly what 33 companies and almost 1000 employees did as a pilot project with the nonprofit 4 Day Week. Some companies chose to shut down for a third day. Others cut hours across five days. However they cut hours, they all reduced the schedule to 32 hours a week. Without reducing employee compensation.
Yes. Less hours, same pay.
So you might be surprised to learn that the companies who reported back gave the pilot an average 9/10 positive rating. A whopping 18 of the original 32 companies have already decided to keep the 32 hour week, and not a single company had definite plans to resume a 40 hour week.
Not as surprising is that 97% of surveyed employees wanted to keep a 32 hour week, and felt that their overall productivity had actually increased despite working less hours. As the report goes on to say, “A wide range of well-being metrics showed significant improvement from the beginning to the end of the trial. Stress, burnout, fatigue, and work-family conflict all declined, while physical and mental health, positive affect, work-family and work-life balance, and satisfaction across multiple domains of life increased.”
Less burnout. Less fatigue. Better health. More productivity. Imagine how those employees might feel when the sound of their alarm goes off.
You can read more about the pilot program here.