scorecardSwitching to a 4-day work week got rid of this company's 'Sunday Scaries'
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Switching to a 4-day work week got rid of this company's 'Sunday Scaries'

Grace Mayer   

Switching to a 4-day work week got rid of this company's 'Sunday Scaries'
Tech3 min read
  • Qwick, a staffing platform for hospitality industries, cut its work week down to 4 days in April 2022.
  • After making the switch, employees who reported feeling rested and ready for work on Monday increased 32%.

A 4-day work week could help employees say goodbye to their Sunday Scaries.

That's at least what Qwick, a US-based company that helps fill shifts in the hospitality industry, found after testing out a four-day work week.

After Qwick cut its work week down to 32 hours last year, employees who reported feeling well-rested and ready for work on Monday increased 32%, the company said, citing surveys it conducted. Employees who reported they often felt stress during work hours dropped 12%, and overall, employees reported improvements in work-life balance.

These results reflected a major turnaround for the company, Qwick CMO Retta Kekic told Insider. One of the reasons Qwick made the switch in April 2022 was to alleviate burnout that many of its 160 full-time employees were facing.

Qwick's findings are just a snapshot of how a reduced work week can impact a company and its employees. But the company's experience also adds to the established litany of research, trials, and discourse around the 4-day work week.

Qwick wasn't one of the companies that participated in the 4-day work week trial study that was published by 4 Day Week Global in December. In that study, which included 33 companies spanning six countries, results showed the shortened work week was better for employees and the company's bottom line. Companies experienced increased revenue, and employees reported improvements in their health.

Now, more than a year into its trial period, Qwick has seen similar results, Kekic said. The tech company started the 4-day work week as a four-month trial period, then extended it to June 2023.

"The response from our team has been overwhelmingly positive. I think that's to no one's surprise, based on any research that's been done on 4-day work weeks," Kekic said.

As for the mechanics of how a 4-day work week works at a place like Qwick, the idea is that employees get the same amount of work done in four days as they would normally complete in five, Kekic said. Most employees take off Friday, but some work on a rolling schedule that starts on Thursday.

So far, productivity hasn't diminished for their employees, Kekic said. Salaries also haven't been cut — going against other companies' that have offered 80% of original salaries for working 4-day weeks.

For Qwick, the decision to make the switch was almost a necessity born out of a period of extreme burnout for its employees.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Qwick saw its revenue drop nearly 80% overnight, Kekic said, which led the company to lay off about 65% of its team. Then in February of 2021, when Qwick was down to just a "skeleton team," revenue suddenly turned around.

"We had this sudden light switch in particular markets that we serve where things turned back on," Kekic said, "and suddenly we were doing three times the revenue we had ever done previously with a third of the team that we had originally."

"A marathon of sprints" ensued among Qwick's team to latch onto this sudden turnaround, Kekic said. Employees were working harder than ever, and with a "skeleton team," no less. To aid the company's growth, Qwick weighed the option of piloting a 4-day work week. It was a solution to alleviate burnout many employees were facing and to hopefully sustain the company's growth in the long-run.

The company started hiring and growing again — and the 4-day work week has fueled that momentum. After announcing its four-day work week trial, Kekic said Qwick saw a 230% increase in job applications. Anecdotally, Kekic said she believes Qwick has also seen more high-quality talent coming to the organization since the switch

Whether Qwick will stick with the 4-day work week once the trial runs out in June hasn't been set in stone yet. But Kekic said, after over a year of trying out the 4-day work week and seeing its benefits, it would be hard for the company to revert back.

"It would be really hard for us to go back to exactly the way we did things before," Kekic said. "Our eyes have been opened and we realize there are other ways that you can accomplish great things as a company that don't have to be within the traditional five days."