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U.S. Based-Tech Unicorn That Tested The 4-Day Workweek is Making it Permanent

The company found that employee happiness and productivity increased with the shorter week.

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After a three-month trial, Bolt has announced the company will be permanently switching to a four-day workweek. The fintech start-up found that the results of the trial were extremely positive, as there was no noticeable drop in productivity while employees were happier and more efficient with their work.

“I couldn’t imagine running a company any other way,” Bolt founder and CEO Ryan Breslow explained.

Back in September, Bolt announced its participation in the three-month trial, and now, the results seem to speak for themselves. According to a survey of 550 full-time employees, 94 percent of workers and 91 percent of managers said they hoped Bolt would implement the program permanently, with 84 percent reporting a greater work-life balance as a result of the shorter workweek.

Breslow believes that the new schedule allows workers to be more efficient and productive without having to necessarily work harder. Rather, managers and employees were able to figure out how to cut out unnecessary meetings and tasks that were primarily used to fill the 40-hour week.

“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,” Breslow said.

Could this permanent shift represent the beginning of a move away from the five-day workweek in America? It’s possible but if that’s the case, it’s happening very, very slowly. Work culture in the United States remains focused on working hard instead of smart, with the majority of people working long hours and almost never using their full allotted vacation days year after year.

In other countries, the move towards restoring work-life balance is already in motion. Iceland ran a trial of four-day workweeks for government workers and found it was overwhelmingly successful, with workers reporting increased happiness and there was no noticeable dip in productivity. In 2019, the United Kingdom’s Labour Party leader John McDonnell announced that the party would officially back a four-day workweek. And just last year, a sitting United States politician Mark Takano introduced a bill that would make the standard workweek 32 hours — signaling t least a political orientation to discussing the end of the 40-hour workweek that has defined our lives for decades.