Employees at a Tampa company called Brick Media just got a heck of an office perk: A four-day workweek with Fridays off.
It’s a move some companies have been experimenting with: Giving workers that extra day in the name of work-life balance — which can also be an enticing job benefit at hiring time.
Jake Kurtz, CEO and founder of Brick Media, which handles social media for its client companies, said he already tended to “frontload” the workweek, making Fridays more relaxed, with no real impact on the business. He was looking for ways to increase employee retention, particularly since marketing jobs can have turnover.
“I thought, ‘What if I started allowing them to have some flexibility with the workweek?’” he said.
The idea is for his 14 employees to work their five-day week in four days — to maintain the output but also gain the day off.
“We’re just going to work a little bit more Monday through Thursday and have every Friday off,” Kurtz said.
The company is trying out this new schedule from January through the end of March. If all goes well in terms of client satisfaction, revenue and how the team is feeling about it, it will become permanent, Kurtz said.
Workplace experts say the pandemic, which had employees putting in long hours from home, exacerbated a focus on weighing professional and personal priorities.
“I think this will just make us work harder on those hours Monday through Thursday,” said Olivia Landry, a Brick Media account manager handling 10 clients. “I think it’s a good way for him to show he appreciates us and for us to have a break.”
“It’s really an extra mental health day,” she said.
Russell Clayton, faculty member at the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business, said the workforce is “as stressed as it’s ever been.”
“Just the idea of, ‘wow, look what my employer is doing for me — they’re giving me, in theory, eight hours of my life back a week.’” he said. “That, for a lot of employees, is very motivating.”
Bolt, a San Francisco-headquartered shopping checkout technology platform specializing in one-click checkout, announced in 2022 after trying out a shorter workweek that it would embrace it more permanently.
The company reported that 94% of employees surveyed wanted it to continue, 86% said they were more efficient with their time and 87% of managers said their teams maintained productivity.
Kurtz said the schedule shift could also help in hiring. “I think potential employees now are looking for company values and what the company cares about as opposed to just what they do,” he said. “It might differentiate us if they’re interviewing with multiple places. I’m hoping it’ll attract good talent and retain the current amazing employees we already have.”
Follow trends affecting the local economy
Subscribe to our free Business by the Bay newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
According to the not-for-profit coalition 4 Day Week, a survey of companies that tried out reducing work time for full pay showed 97 percent of employees wanted it to continue and two-thirds said they were less burned out.
Not that a four-day workweek has exactly been widely embraced.
“My opinion is it’s going to be a slow burn before it really takes off,” said Clayton. “It sounds good in theory, but I suspect that some organizations will keep their eyes open and watch and see what happens.” It’s also likely easier for a smaller business to adopt the practice and more of a logistical challenge for a larger one.
But Clayton also said he could see the potential for a domino effect in a specific industry: Company X offers it, so competing Companies Y and Z follow to keep up.
“My opinion: The success of this boils down to the worker and maximizing those 32 hours,” he said.
Kurtz said he informed his clients about the change and feedback was positive. He also posted on LinkedIn and got “tons of comments.”
“It seems like a lot of people are curious to see if it works,” he said.