Kickstarter Is Moving to a 4-Day Workweek
By: Gabrielle Bienasz
Kickstarter is launching one of its most interesting projects yet: a four-day workweek for its employees.
The Brooklyn-based crowdfunding platform announced last week that starting in 2022, it will become the first company to join a set of pilot programs called 4 Day Week U.S. The programs, launched in part by Kickstarter executive Jon Leland, are a spinoff from 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit that promotes a shortened work schedule. On Monday, 4 Day Week U.S. circulated an employee petition to help identify companies to target, and encouraged employers to join the program.
For business owners, this could be the perfect time to experiment. "Remote workers are now coming back, and they're used to some flexibility," says Chris Mullen, executive director at Boston-based think tank the Workforce Institute. Mullen advises most employers to try it, provided they first gauge employees' interest and engage in significant dialogue about how to do it effectively.
The four-day workweek has gotten some traction in recent years. In March, Spain's government announced it would pay companies to try it. London-based consumer goods company Unilever began a yearlong test in its New Zealand offices in November 2020. And Buffer, a San Francisco-based social media software company, tried the schedule in 2020 and decided to continue it into 2021 because it "resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance," according to a company blog post.
Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan told Axios that the pandemic inspired him to try a four-day workweek for its 90 employees. "What we've been all living through the last 18 months, you feel this compression on your professional life, your personal life," he said. A Kickstarter spokesperson says the company has not yet determined how it will implement the schedule. 4 Day Week usually advocates a 32-hour workweek comprising four eight-hour days.
The results of early experiments have been promising. When Microsoft Japan tested the four-day week in 2019, productivity spiked by 40 percent and 92 percent of employees said they liked the schedule. A 2020 study of 350 people in the Philippines published in the Journal of Physics suggested that compressed workweeks help workers feel less stressed and manage their personal lives more effectively.