This is part of our series on IWT’s 4-Day Workweek Challenge, where we take you behind the scenes to show what it’s like for us as we test out a compressed work schedule. The email you’re about to read is written by Tony Ho Tran, a professional journalist for The Daily Beast and a former copywriter for IWT. Join us as we dive deep on the highs and lows of the challenge.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The 4-day workweek ISN’T for everyone.
It might not work for your specific business, like if you do seasonal work or work in emergency services. Your company culture might simply expect you to put in long hours 5 or more days a week.
Hell, you might just be a weirdo who LOVES to work as much as possible (no judgment — we’ve all been there).
Or a 4DWW might simply be a struggle for you to adapt to… and that’s okay too.
Today, I want to introduce you to Andy McNeill. He’s a marketing associate at IWT and helps deliver all of our great emails straight to your inbox — including the one you’re reading right now.
When Andy first heard about the 4DWW Challenge at IWT, he was PUMPED…and who could blame him?
“I was excited about the idea of doing a 4-day workweek because I love 3-day weekends,” Andy says. “But, at the same time, I was nervous. What if it doesn’t work out? What if things just get harder?”
Ultimately though, Andy was looking forward to it.
Not only does it mean a longer weekend to spend time with his family (and, specifically, his newborn niece), it also means that he could schedule time for regular medical appointments that he needed — all without disrupting the flow of his work.
“Having Mondays off means it’s easier to set up an appointment, which takes a lot of stress off me during the week,” he says.
Taking care of your mind and body, while making sure work is going well? That’s the IWT way!
But, while there are undoubtedly a lot of benefits from the 4DWW for Andy, there are also a few things he struggled with.
The problem with a 4-day workweek
I’m going to tell you a secret: It takes a LOT of work to get these emails out to you every day.
While it’s a collective team effort, Andy still has his work cut out for him on top of the 4DWW Challenge.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” he says, referring to the compressed work schedule. “I’ve had weeks where I love it, and I have weeks where I hate it.”
He adds that while there have been some undeniable benefits from the 4DWW, he’s also recognized that occasionally his stress at work has spiked because of it.
Also, remember how he scheduled those doctor’s appointments? He did that for a good reason: Mondays are great days to schedule medical checkups. This isn’t just an opinion — it’s actually backed up by evidence.
However, since the vast majority of IWT employees decided to take Fridays off instead, that means that Andy has a 3-day window to communicate and collaborate with his co-workers.
“It’s been challenging with the three-day situation,” he explains. “But the teamwork has been great when we are together.”
Andy’s situation is a great example of how a 4DWW doesn’t instantly fit into everyone’s Rich Life — particularly if they’re used to a 5-day schedule.
“At first I was thinking about sneaking in five days of work while everyone else did their 4-day workweek,” he explains. “But I decided to try and make it work and it has paid off.“
The beauty of the 4DWW Challenge is that it not only challenges our assumptions of what a typical 5-day workweek could look like, but it also helps us test and prod the 4DWW itself. That can be helpful considering the MASSIVE trend in articles that seem to tout it as nothing short of a gift from the labor gods. Consider these breathless obituaries about the 5-day workweek:
- The five-day workweek is dead (Vox)
- Kill the 5-Day Workweek (The Atlantic)
- How the pandemic killed the five-day office work week (CBS)
- Is This The End Of The Traditional Five-Day Working Week? (Forbes)
After a few weeks of testing, though, here’s the cold hard truth: The 5-day workweek isn’t dead. Hell, it isn’t even dying. BUT that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some clear and powerful benefits to it that make it worthwhile for a lot of workers.
Bottom line: The 4DWW is not a utopian paradise. Instead, it’s just a different way of approaching work that allows a lot of people to live their Rich Lives a little easier.
A little help from my friends
While Andy has occasionally struggled with the 4DWW, he says that he’s grateful to have received a TON of help from his coworkers and managers.
He added that IWT’s culture allows things that would otherwise be annoying in other companies, like unnecessary meetings, to become non-issues.
“That’s something I love about IWT,” Andy says. “I remember other employers that had meetings that consistently went over time or meetings that could have been an email. But IWT has always had an agenda and we respect each other’s time.”
Andy is already seeing huge improvements in how he feels about the 4DWW. Every week, IWT is surveyed on how much they’re enjoying it. “Last week was great, my score went to an 8 when it had been a 2 or 3 in the weeks before. This week, it’s probably going to be a 9 or 10. My workload is more manageable and my stress levels are down.”
Andy had a conversation with his manager about the issue of having enough time to deliver emails while observing a 4-day workweek.
The team met together and they drew out the entire process of delivering an email. They identified areas where improvements could be made and even considered if a task should change owners. Now email copy is getting to Andy earlier, giving him more time to send them.
That’s why companies typically test out big changes like 4DWW before implementing them…well, at least the smart ones do. It takes time and creative problem-solving to make the 4DWW work, and you have to have that trial period to figure it all out.