Does an extra day at the computer really produce that much more work? Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson thinks the answer is “no” and has structured his company to prove it. From a 2012 post on his blog:

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 the 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.
At the time of writing, the company was profitable and the company has since removed all managers.

Read his entire post here.

via Hacker News.

  • Cesar Idrobo

    At the Savannah College of Art and Design, we only have 3 classes per quarter 4 days a week. So, we have 3 day weekends to get the work done. It’s intense, but definitely effective.

  • ciaran

    I work freelance and have been mostly working 4 days per week since April when my son started at nursery – my girlfriend does the same as initially, this was our plan to help cut the costs of daycare.

    Something I didn’t forsee was the knock-on effect is that I find I use my 4 days at work far more efficiently & productively. Luckily, my clients are all usually pretty flexible or will shuffle a job around if needed, or when there’s a big deadline or project to take care of, I’ll book my boy in for another day in the creche. The flipside is that when things have got really hectic with work & I’ve been back to a M-F, 9-5 working week, I’ve found myself more stressed & tired, precisely because I’ve had to work more. Granted, I’m lucky as I’m my own boss and this situation won’t work for everybody, but the cash is still coming in and I enjoy myself at work and at home.

  • Anthony Miranda

    Sticking to a 5 day workweek is like the music industry sticking to to their old ways back when music piracy was at it’s peak and ITunes come out–a failed resistance to the evolution of the process.

  • Kosio Angelov

    I don’t think this is the most effective way to go. Yes, morale is boosted and people are happier but we are creatures of habit and habit needs repetition. If your work habits are on for 4 days, off for 3, on for 4, off for 3…habits are very hard to be formed as every start of the week is like starting from 0.

    • John Khoury

      I appreciate this bold statement. Everyone wants to think that 4 days a week is better cause everyone wants to work less than 5 days a week (for a good year or two I worked 4 days a week and loved it). But there may indeed be some truth to keeping the flow going. What I would like to add is the idea of flexibility in the work week itself. Go home, take a nap, take a break whenever you feel like it. Change your environment by working from home or in the lobby. Give your body and mind what it needs when it needs it and you should be able to still feel happy, in control, and sharp. Habits are a good thing to foster but changing patterns also provides stimulation and energy. AND, don’t forget to take proper vacations regularly.

  • Rusty Smith

    I don’t know many people who can continue to be at the top of their game mentally, after one 13 hour day, much less 3 in a row. I know it can be done, and I suppose some people in some jobs could do it well, but I’m positive it effects their productivity.

    In fact if things got tough at work and someone had an accident on the way home I wouldn’t be surprised if some ambulance chaser dragged the employer into court for allowing the employee to drive home after working that many hours.

    • elizabeth

      What makes you think that everyone works 13 hour days? My fiance works for Treehouse, and while he has certainly put in a 13 hour day before – who hasn’t? – he almost always works 9-6. Maybe a half hour earlier or later depending on whether he needs to meet with someone in another time zone.

      The important thing to note here is that it is not about the quantity of time spent at work, it is about the quality of that time. So many people freely admit to ‘wasted time’ at work. This cuts out that time and allows you to spend those extra hours doing what you want to do, instead of running out a clock.

      • Rusty Smith

        I have had 2 jobs with 4 day work weeks, and one 9/80, so I have seen the result. I was there when one 4 day was implemented, and when the 9/80 was implemented, and I loved both, but also saw how in each case the company took a productivity hit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take short work weeks every time, but I don’t confuse that with a belief that short work weeks, which mean longer hours, result in the same productivity as 5/8 hour days.

        The only increase in quality time I saw, was my quality time at home and with friends.

        I also doubt that workers that aren’t effective for large portions of their day will become more effective when the work day gets longer. I just haven’t seen it.

  • Marty Martinez

    I worked a 4 day work week for 12 years and feel that I was just as productive, if not more than I am now, in a 5 day work week. I had no issues with putting in the extra 2 hours a day so that I could have a 3 day weekend I actually used that additional day off to take care of appointments at the doctors, going to the DMV for license renewals, etc. or played golf and then got home and did my tasks around the house that afternoon. Thus I was missing less time during worknig hours for things that could only be taken care of during working hours on weekdays and it gave me a true weekend with family and friends, so when I returned on Monday to work I was more relaxed and ready to get back into the swing of things knowing that I would be off again come Friday.
    My fiance works a 4 day week and loves it. It is a great retention tool. No matter how green the grass is on the other side or how stressful things are at work the first thing she always comes back to is “does this other job work 4 days?”.
    We are both professionals and if the need arises we put in the extra time on Friday, weekends or evenings. It’s just nice to know that it’s now the expected norm.

  • Jarod Billingslea

    I most definitely think we all should work 4 days a week. I have been working 4 days a week (M-Th) myself, and I can say my effectiveness and efficiency skyrocketed because of this new mindset. But I also think there’s a certain way you have to do it, because it’s not great for everyone — at least not in the beginning when you suck at managing your time well and work alone.

    And I see me and Ryan work 9 hours too. I wake up at 4:30am and work from 5am to 11:30am and then 5pm to 8pm though. It makes life so much enjoyable during the afternoon. I truly feel free in my life after 11:30am. And working from 12-4pm isn’t bad if I decide to work. Meetings are always fun because of this schedule I’ve set for myself.

  • mona

    Awesome! I agree with the above post, nicely written too! So many friends and family I know are knackered by Friday and loathe Mondays. I’m happy to say I work part-time and I still enjoy my career 🙂

  • Joe Nicklo

    Such a noble idea and it’s nice that it works for Treehouse but like I said in a previous post (creative rituals), these companies are so rare that they’re almost a myth. While I’d LOVE to work a 4 day week, one company isn’t going to change the way companies (at least in the U.S.) operate.

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