For those of us who are ambassadors of a 4-day workweek, we tend to stop at the obvious benefits: the extra day off, the improved mental health, the increase in productivity, the advantages in recruiting and retention. But there are deeper benefits to practicing a 4-day workweek that I’ve experienced at Uncharted: benefits directly connected to equity, inclusion, power dynamics, and voice. Shifting to a 4-day workweek led our entire team to open up new conversations about what was important, what wasn’t, and how we might get better at understanding the relationship between time invested and results generated. Over the last two years, our team has adopted a shared language of what's important that held me accountable as a leader. I’ve felt a heightened sense of responsibility when setting strategy and delegating: was I asking our team to do too much? Was I asking people to spend their hours on endeavors that didn’t directly translate into results?
The 4-day workweek challenges vague top-down norms of what a workweek should be with specific bottom-up data about what inputs lead to the most important outputs, shifting power from boss to employee. This is an under-investigated benefit of the 4-day workweek: when you adopt shared vocabulary around the need to prioritize and deprioritize, you flatten hierarchies and create opportunities for expanded voice. The other ancillary benefit to a 4-day workweek is how it shifts the conversation from working hard and long to working smart. Every time we reinforce the belief that working hard is a badge of honor in our work culture, we reinforce our inability to ever break free from working hard. When we shift from a paradigm of working hard into a paradigm of working smart, we set ourselves free from a work culture that subordinates our lives beneath our work.