FUTURE OF WORK
96% of workers prefer the four-day week
What’s the word for doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
A report just landed from the world’s largest four-day work week trial. Over 2,900 employees across 61 companies in the UK participated in the trial from June to December 2022, and surprise, surprise: The four-day week was a smashing success.
Not only did 92% of companies decide to stick with the policy, reporting that the change had a positive impact on productivity, but they also saw an average revenue increase of 1.4%. Among workers, stress levels dropped by 39% and burnout rates fell by 71%. Insert snarky remark about how we should have done this years ago.
The current 5-day model is a relic of Henry Ford’s time. Ford is credited with pioneering the 40-hour workweek on his assembly line back in 1926 when he discovered that working more didn't necessarily translate to higher profits and actually led to more accidents and reduced productivity. It’s time we got off the metaphorical conveyor belt. And it feels particularly apt that Ford’s model be dismantled on the basis of new empirical research.
Speaking of empirical research: Sick days plummeted by a whopping 65%, and staff resignations dropped by 57%. Employee stress levels dropped by 39%. Employee burnout rates fell by 71%. Fifty-four percent of workers felt a reduction in negative emotions. And 60% of employees with care responsibilities saw an improvement to their work-life balance.
It’s worth noting that there wasn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to the four-day week. Companies got to pick and choose from a variety of models, from the classic ‘Friday off’ to staggered half-days.
Richard Nixon of all people actually predicted this would happen, way back in 1956.
The challenge, according to Nick Bloom, economics professor at Stanford and remote-work champion, is that paying workers full-time salaries for four days of work will be a “tough sell to managers and investors” given current macroeconomic conditions.
But the results of the trial speak for themselves. It’s time to stop pretending that overworked, stressed-out employees are just a part of doing business.
3 Healthtech VCs on Managing Burn and Raising a Round in a Downturn
The age-old dilemma for every startup founder: How do you balance the tightrope walk between managing burn and achieving growth?
In this environment, every founder is dialed in on that P&L sheet. At the same time, there’s an impetus to still grow and hit that next milestone. It’s a nerve-wracking dance—you don’t want to go too hard and end up pockets-empty before the next chance to fundraise. Because, let's face it, waiting around for interest rates to drop is like waiting for Tom Brady to retire. (This time it’s definitely happening. Or is it?)
The way Stephanie Weiner of FirstMark sees it, founders need to have one of two things in this uncertain market: 24 months of runway or a path to profitability. (For earlier stage companies, she says, there’s some wiggle room).
Fair enough. But how should founders prioritize the resources they do have? That’s a trickier question. Weiner said the go-to framework they use inside Firstmark is the Monkeys & Pedestals framework: “Say you have to train a monkey to juggle fire and knives while standing on a pedestal. Which is harder? Building the pedestal or training the monkey to juggle fire? Building a pedestal takes some effort but it's not a question of whether or not it can be done.”
This forces a company to take a step back and ask the big question: “Are we training monkeys? Or building pedestals?”
“Make sure that you’re allocating your resources against the hardest problem that you need to solve before the next round—especially if you don't have 24 months of runway,” she advises.
Optimizing your landing pages or updating your sales collateral with that new branding is likely a pedestal. The juggling monkey is the big, complex initiative that’s the existential key to whether your company works or not. You can put off teaching the monkey to juggle fire, but only for so long.
Read the full article to learn more about what investors are telling their portcos about the balance between managing burn and achieving growth.