Half-Day Fridays: The Benefits of a Shorter Work Week

October 6, 2021

  •  Sophia Scearce
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Office, Hybrid, Remote?

The pandemic has impacted the way in which organizations conduct business. Professionals commute from their beds to the kitchen table, rather than into the office each day. Zoom and Teams’ meetings are the norm regardless of an office, remote or hybrid setting. With these changes, the future of work continues to evolve.

In this tumultuous pandemic era, the needs of our employees are also developing, so we are alongside them. Effective Friday, Oct 8, 2021, all Turbine Labs employees will have Friday afternoons off.

Serving our customers in a way that matches their news needs still remains critical – all content and insights will be delivered as needed. We’ve designed our new schedule to rarely disrupt customer timelines.

While you will now find our Blades on the slopes or the beach on Fridays, the future of work looks different for businesses across all industries. 🏖️ ⛷️

“Rest is not the opposite of work, it’s a partner.”

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, the author of the aptly named Rest, describes strategies to balance the work you love without spending the entire day working.

We are not locked into a 40+ hour workweek. Instead, it’s deeply seeded in the Industrial era where workers went on strike to limit the 14-hour workday and regain their time. The 1886 slogan during demonstrations in Chicago went, “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for whatever we will.” We still live by that eight hours (if not longer due to email), but it’s time to reimagine what life can be.

Nearly 100 years and a pandemic later, the world is taking a second look at time. Salaried workers spent nearly 50 hours per week in front of the computer pre-pandemic, and working time only went up. Through monitoring the Future of Work, we are seeing a trend towards the shortened workweek to give employees the rest they deserve.

We asked the team how they plan to spend this extra time:

    • Family time
    • Trail running
    • Skiing
    • Self-care
    • Coding
    • Movies
    • Live music

Employee Well-Being

Aside from more time to do what they love, many U.S. employees struggled with burnout during the pandemic. Studies conducted over the past several years indicate that the feeling of burnout can be improved with fewer work hours, granting employees more control over their schedules and better work-life balance.

Remote work has revolutionized the workplace in many ways, but while workplace flexibility has increased, so has mental fatigue. Since moving to remote, many companies have found the time spent in meetings ballooned significantly – to nearly double pre-pandemic levels. Aside from regular work stress, ‘Zoom fatigue’ can be physically exhausting. Staring eye-to-eye with your co-workers is unnatural and draining, and can send our minds and bodies into fight-or-flight mode.

148%: Weekly meeting time has more than doubled for Teams users and is still rising. 45% Weekly Teams chats per-person are up 45% and still rising.

“5 Work Challenges Solved by Empowering Async” – Workplaceless / Source: Microsoft The Work Trend Index

 

Efficiency

Juggling life and work without burnout is not the only reason to ditch Friday workdays altogether. Fewer working hours can also increase productivity. Condensed work weeks have led professionals to prioritize their schedules, cutting down on monotonous meetings and other time-consuming activities that eat up the workday.

Iceland faced the future head-on and rolled out a 4-day workweek to 85% of the country’s workers. Production levels stayed consistent or improved despite fewer hours.

 

How to make this work

To make our shortened (and hybrid) work week effective, we’re changing our internal communication strategies. Teams that have been remote pre-pandemic are championing the charge on asynchronous communication. Instead of scheduling across time zones to make meetings (synchronous communication) work, teams are finding creative ways to keep everyone in the loop at different times.

    • Slack even pioneered new ways to share your thoughts outside of meetings – with clips and videos.

See you on Monday

Turbine Labs’ greatest priority is the well-being of our employees and this past year and a half has changed the way we all work, forever.

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