After spending decades inside brands and working at agencies we made the terrifying (and exciting) decision to venture out and create something of our very own. The learning curve was steep but exhilarating. The possibilities were endless and inspiring. The opportunity to define and cultivate a culture of transparency, authenticity, and equity was and continues to be at our fingertips. We are incredibly grateful for the experiences our past employers afforded us, immensely thankful for the mentors who have guided us along the way, and so very appreciative of the amazing humans who embark upon this journey with us. We are driven to do right by the people we work with and for. We take pride in questioning everything and pushing boundaries to create amazing experiences for our team and our clients. Taking risks is part of our DNA because, as they say, without risk there can be no reward.
Consistent with our core values and philosophy of taking chances, The Swell Co-Lab will be implementing the four-day work week starting in June. This is an experiment. We are going in with eyes wide open and will be soliciting feedback along the way. Although the (overwhelmingly positive) data surrounding this shift is relatively new, we feel it is better to launch a four-day work week fully expecting to make some adjustments than it would be to not launch it at all.
WHY The four-day work week speaks to a shift in people’s working styles — namely, that if you can get your work completed from Monday to Thursday, then there should be no latent expectation that Friday is time on. Instead, it can be time off — a period to rest, recover, and engage with loved ones.
Better work-life balance: Giving team members an extra personal day allows them to work on personal projects, and hobbies, and spend more time with their families. Working long hours contributes to stress, which in turn can have negative long-term health effects on our teammates.
Increased productivity: Team members are more productive when given time to rest and relax adequately. It also affords us the opportunity to hone our prioritization skills and breathes fresh energy into our work.
Improves mental health: Having the extra time to take care of loved ones, run errands, or even catch up on email can help prevent teams from feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
Helps make the workplace more equitable: Transitioning to a four-day work week helps create a more equal workplace for men and women. By eliminating an additional workday team members are able to spend more time with their children and would lower the cost of childcare from five days per week to four.
HOW By embracing a future of fewer hours and more meaningful work, we will shift our approach to focus entirely on outcomes rather than traditional input measurement, e.g., how many hours you tracked each day. This is a true shift in expectations, following an EU work model, rather than a compressed work week.
Fridays will be genuine time off, with no planned meetings or work.
Project leads will be clear with priorities and expectations.
Team members will be empowered to find ways that work for them, and to work more efficiently.
Flexibility is key. If some team members prefer to work on their day off as it allows them time to think deeply without interruption, we honor that. We simply request that non-urgent emails and Slack messages be held until Monday.
Communication is a priority. We will be checking in frequently with team members and clients alike to make sure this experience is working for everyone and will be making incremental improvements when appropriate.
Moving forward we are not going to timebox this experiment, however, we will continue to check in with our clients, teammates, and partners to solicit feedback and make adjustments as we continue this journey.