For 2023, Jake Kurtz decided to try something new with employees at his Tampa company called Brick Media.
Why not get more work done Monday through Thursday, he thought, with a payoff of everyone having Fridays off?
Now, the three-month pilot program at the 15-employee firm on Channelside Drive at the edge of downtown Tampa has ended, and the verdict on a four-day workweek is in:
“I think they’re happier than they’ve ever been,” said Kurtz, 32, the company’s CEO and founder. “Every single person on the team wanted to keep it.” So this month, he made the four-day workweek permanent.
“I literally can’t think of a single hiccup that has happened,” he said.
The pandemic shutdown upended long-held office traditions, making work from home a viable option for many and sharpening focus on work-life balance. The idea of a four-day workweek is also getting attention, with some companies nationwide giving it a try.
No surprise here: employees like it. As part of a recent study by the group 4 Day Week Global involving researchers at Boston College, University College Dublin and Cambridge, dozens of businesses cut back to 32 hours for the same pay. The study found sick days and absenteeism went down, and when it was over, nearly all the employees — 96.9% — wanted the four-day workweek to continue. More than half the companies planned to do so.
And while most of the workers said they would need a raise to go back to a traditional week at their next job, 13% said “no amount of money could convince them to give up the four-day week,” according to survey results.
At Brick Media, which handles social media for its 45 client companies, Kurtz kept an eye on revenue, productivity and how it impacted those clients.
“It just seems like there’s a little more effort Monday through Thursday,” he said. “The work output has been consistent, if not up a little bit.”
Employees use the extra time for trips, family, errands and exercise, among other things.
“It’s been mostly just a great mental break,” said Andrea Echeverry, 22, an account manager with the company for nearly a year. Her dad, a civil engineer, teases her that she doesn’t work anymore.
“I do work — I just work longer Monday through Thursday,” she said. “I’m just being more productive because I have more energy on those days.”
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After the Tampa Bay Times wrote about the experiment in January, TV stations in Tampa Bay and Miami did stories, too. Kurtz said, since then, he’s seen an increase in job applications.
And he said he’s gotten no negative feedback from clients.
“It’s really been unnoticeable to us,” said Brick Media client Jim Griffin, president of Jackson’s Bistro on Harbour Island. “They never missed a beat.”
“It’s not like a plumber, where you have a leak, or an electrical issue, where you need them on the site right now,” he said. “For their industry, it’s perfect. Keep the talent, motivate the talent.”
Kurtz said the only reason he didn’t do it sooner was because working Monday through Friday was what everyone did.
“I like that things are becoming more open-minded,” he said.