We’re reevaluating the 40-hour work week.

Insights / organization design, hiring, transparency, future of operations

We’re reevaluating the 40-hour work week.

At August, we intentionally grant ourselves a lot of autonomy over where, when, and how we work.

This summer we’re taking it a step further, as we experiment for the first time with a shorter work week!

 The 40-hour work week is outdated and inefficient. Our sister companies who’ve implemented a 4-day week report greater productivity and increased motivation, not to mention happier teams. We’re excited to discover if this will be true for us as well!

Our goals for this experiment are:

  1. To explore the frontier of the future of work. This experiment will give us a firsthand understanding, so we can translate it to our friends, the public, and our clients.
  2. To increase engagement. Our talented team has a diverse array of interests, family structures and personal styles. We want to give each team member the freedom to recharge on their own terms. 
  3. To attract talent, plain and simple. We want to be the best consultancy to work for, and this is another step towards that goal. By the way, we’re hiring

Our experiment will take place over the next three months. We’ll start with half days on Fridays for the first six weeks, and then graduate to full Fridays off from mid-July through September.

At the end of September we’ll do a group retrospective to evaluate how it went. We’ll look at our leading indicators of business performance and our employee engagement scores, with particular focus on psychological safety. We want to make sure that, at minimum, the shorter hours don’t negatively impact our clients or our team – and hopefully they’ll improve outcomes for both!

This took time to plan. We discussed our concerns around equity, our contract model and client relationships. Not to mention logistics, with our team members spread across eight time zones! 

As we designed this, we made a few Even Over team agreements to help this be “Safe To Try” for our team. Here are two we want to share with you.

  1. Client work even over Internal work. As we are learning, we know we may need to make tradeoffs. When we need to make tradeoffs to reduce workload, we will compromise on internal work only, and deliver for our clients at the same level of quality and commitment as always.
  2. Collective benefit even over Individual benefit. In communicating externally about our experiment, we prioritize discussing and sharing what we learn about the macro-benefits to engagement, wellbeing and productivity that everyone (our clients included) can benefit from, rather than focusing on the individual benefit to us and our teams.

More tensions may arise as we move forward. That’s why we structured it as an experiment. Transformation isn’t a one-and-done process. We’ll try it, learn from it, and go from there.

We look forward to sharing what we discover!

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