The clock hits 5:00 PM and the weight of 40 hours melts away from your shoulders. You shut down your computer, pack up your things, and relish at the thought of the weekend ahead. We all know this feeling. The end-of-day Friday feeling. The feeling of having a few days to relax and recharge before hitting the ground running again that following Monday.
As you're on your way home, you remember that birthday party you promised you would attend on Saturday, and that thing your kid has Sunday morning. Oh, and don't forget you need to clean the house, fix the upstairs window that cracked, and finish the never-ending laundry. By the time you're finished thinking of all the things you have to do it's already Monday morning again and you're wondering where that "you time" was.
What if at the end of each work week you didn't feel like you needed that "you time" so badly? What if you had the chance to have a better balance between work, personal errands, a social life, and "you time"?
Ryan Carson, founder and CEO of Treehouse, most likely considered similar questions when he was structuring the four-day work week that his company has become so well-known for. At Treehouse, an online coding school that provides educational services to tech professionals, employees work four, eight hour days each week. Why? Well for Ryan, it’s all about balance. In a Q&A with IndustryPDX, he stated,
“We believe that people can get 5 days of work done in 4 days. The thought is simple: you have 2,000 weekends till you die; what are you going to do? Treehouse gives you 50% more time, and no matter how rich you are you can’t buy time. People’s work life balance is jacked. Everyone is expendable. I’m expendable. Stepping back and saying what really matters here?”
The key to this balance is taking a long-term instead of a short-term approach to productivity. He acknowledges that,
“If you put them [our employees] in a race with someone for one month, and one works 60 hour weeks, and one works 32, then yes, the person who worked 60 hours is going to get more done in that one month. How about in 12 months? How about in 7 years?"
That said, don't mistake this decision for leniency or laziness. Ryan himself states, “I’m very focused, and I work very hard while I’m working. I’m just very careful not to work long hours.” You can catch a glimpse into his personal regimen in this Washington Post article.
So, imagine the clock hitting 5:00 PM and it being Thursday instead of Friday, and instead of worrying about not having enough time to get everything you need to get done completed you feel like you have plenty of time to do so. Imagine coming into work on Monday morning and feeling beyond ready to be productive because you were never worn out in the first place.
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By Jake Chatt