Circadian Risk Culture

Why Circadian Risk Supports the Four-Day Workweek

By Michael J. Martin | April 10, 2024 | 2 min read

When Circadian Risk began offering a four-day workweek two years ago, software developer Vanya Prokopovich was skeptical. As Circadian Risk’s resident culture champion, Vanya had read mixed research about the concept.

That all changed a year later, when Vanya began feeling symptoms of burnout. His manager suggested that he try the four-day workweek.

“I thought that was an interesting idea, but I didn't really think that it would work,” said Vanya.

Working just four days a week turned out to be life-changing. Vanya was able to reconnect with his passion: teaching parkour. Vanya has done parkour for the last 15 years, and before joining Circadian Risk, had taught and coached. The four-day workweek allowed him to spend three days a week coaching for San Francisco’s Recreation & Parks Department.

“It brought me so much joy,” he said. “Being able to move again, instead of sitting at my desk or in front of my computer on Fridays was fabulous. I was able to hike and do some of the more meditative things that I normally wouldn't take time for.”

The benefits of the four-day workweek didn’t end there. After four or five months, the team noticed that Vanya’s performance at work had improved. He was more productive in four days than he had been when he was working for five days a week.

A closer look at the four-day workweek

The concept of work time reduction (WTR) has been around for a while, but since the pandemic, the four-day workweek has been gathering steam worldwide. Research shows that reducing work time improves employees’ well being and productivity. Case in point: in 2023 the largest study on the four-day workweek was published. The study followed 61 companies as they conducted a six month trial of the four-day workweek.

By the end of the trial, the 2,900 employees in the trial reported feeling mentally and physically better; 71% had lower levels of burnout at the end of the trial and 39% reported less stress. More than half the employees found it easier to balance work and household commitments while 60% reported that it was easier to work and take care of family members.It wasn’t just employees’ lives that improved. The study also saw employee retention improve by 57%, sick days drop by 65%, and company revenue increase by 1.4%. At the end of the study, 92% of the companies that had participated in the trial were planning to continue with the four-day workweek.

HR thought leader Josh Bersin recently conducted his own study on reduced work time. Bersin’s findings were similar: reduce sick time and turnover, higher productivity, and a decrease in worker stress.

Why the four-day workweek is an important option

For years, the culture around work has demanded so much from workers. The idea that people must put in longer hours, give up sleep and a social life to prove their dedication to an organization has been ground into our consciousness.

When a workplace is able to offer options like reduced work time, we can help make our workers healthier and more productive. Vanya is not the only employee who has moved to a four-day schedule. Other employees have taken advantage of it, and we’ve seen how it’s worked for them.

“I think that it was a fantastic tool to get over the hurdle of burnout and focusing more on my wellness,” said Vanya.

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