Ever wonder how the 5-day workweek even came about? In 1908, a New England mill became the first American factory to institute the five-day workweek. The move inspired others to follow suit, and eventually, three decades later, the Fair Labor Standard Act made 2-day weekends official in 1938.
Today, some tech companies are cutting another day. Bolt, an e-commerce startup, made its 4-day workweek permanent after a 3-month trial. The concept was wildly popular with employees; in a companywide survey following the trial, Bolt employees reported a variety of benefits to the new schedule:
- 84% said they were more productive
- 86% said they were more efficient with their time
- 84% saw improvement in their work-life balance
While many have been quick to praise the move as a generous perk for Bolt employees, CEO Ryan Breslow says the move is selfish — citing improved productivity across the board.
He’s also quick to mention that not all companies are suited for the shift. Bolt makes a point to measure worker impact, which will help weed out any decreases in productivity over time.
The concept is not to necessarily take on more work hours but to work more efficiently. During their work hours, employees are laser-focused, Breslow told CNBC.
“A lot of companies operate with a lot of work theater, which is people caring more about the appearance of working than the actual work,” he noted.
“So, you have countless meetings, countless documents, countless presentations,” Breslow said. “It’s impossible to sift through the noise and get to the heart of the matter.”
The San Francisco-based tech unicorn is one of a handful of companies in the U.S. that have moved to the shortened workweek.
When attracting and retaining top talent is a critical priority during the “Great Resignation,” those who have made the transition report a significantly expanded pool of potential recruitment.