In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of companies and organizations trimming their workweek to 4 days. Citing improved staff morale and improved or sustained productivity, what typically begins as a summer experiment is happily adopted as permanent policy. A few years ago, Hello Amigo tested out a 4.5-day workweek for the summer and, to our team’s credit, we were able to implement it as our permanent hours of operation. Here, our team shares their thoughts on the benefits of a shorter week and the impact of it on their work.
As a business owner, it’s always important to be aware of your team’s level of energy to prevent burnout. A few years ago, I noticed that our team (including myself) lacked energy by Friday afternoon after working hard all week. Rather than just sleepily stare at the clock counting down the minutes until 5:00, we decided to experiment by ending our Friday at 12:30 for the summer. I loved it, the team loved it, and we didn’t notice a decrease in the amount of work we were producing. After the summer was over, we decided to keep half-day Fridays as a perk for our team members and to allow everyone to get an early start to a fun, work-free weekend!
I love the 4.5-day workweek. I try to finish most of my tasks by Wednesday, so I have Friday morning to work on the creative tasks. I feel like I am more efficient and I really value how I spend my time. I also try to work in a webinar, or some sort of professional development on those days too. When I was in college at UTEP, the College of Business started instituting Fridays as “professional development” days for students so we would not have classes these days, but instead participate in clubs or work on ourselves. Having the 4.5-day workweek takes me back to those days, so I can spend my Friday afternoons volunteering, attending conferences or just maybe visiting with my grandparents. I love it.
A harmonious work-life balance is essential to my mental, physical and emotional health. My design career is very important to me, but work should never take over my life. A shorter workweek allows me time to get away from the screen and unplug. I always dedicate my Friday afternoons to hanging with my pup, reading, long walks, yoga or really anything I feel like doing. It’s also an important reminder that my job is just one of many aspects of my life, and who I am is much more than a designer. By having that extra time to unwind, I’m more creative during my work days and happier all around. I’m very appreciative that Hello Amigo cares about my well-being and understands the importance of a healthy work-life balance.
The 4.5-day workweek has been awesome! Because I work from home, I try to make it a point to get out of my apartment every day to get some fresh air, even if it that means just stepping outside and taking a walk around the block. Having a half day on Fridays is great, especially during winter months because I can catch some sunlight and take a walk, go to the park, or eat dinner outside on my patio. Shorter workweeks also allow more room for rest and less room for burnout. Having more free time on Fridays lets me get more out of my weekends. I genuinely feel like I have adequate time to rest and recharge before the start of a new week. I am very grateful to work with a team that honors rest as an essential part of the creative process.
Having a half day on Friday motivates me to be efficient with my time and get everything finished by Thursday. That way I can spend Friday planning the to-dos for the following week and prepping for upcoming projects and tasks. I appreciate the half-day because it allows me to depart early for a trip or jump start my weekend cleaning so I can spend Saturday and Sunday just enjoying time with my family.
Throughout my career, I’ve learned that work-life balance is necessary to a person’s mental and physical health. Prioritizing my spouse and children has helped me create the balance I need to be more effective and be more present at work and at home. A shorter workweek has helped us improve our productivity and time-management as a team. Yes, stress and burnout still exist but we have more time and energy to stop, reflect and adjust. And more importantly, enjoy life!
If you were considering a change in your hours of operation, take it from our team: the potential for improved work-life balance and increased team morale is worth the risk of disrupting your current status quo.
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