“The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true,” Google CEO Larry Page said at a business summit at the end of 2014.
“Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests,” Page added. “So one way to deal with the problem is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the workweek.”
The five-day workweek is only about a century old—a product of Great Depression-era efforts to cut costs during cash-strapped seasons. But as technology has rocketed forward, ideas about the ideal balance between work and rest have stayed more or less the same. However, a growing number of experts are suggesting that a shorter workweek wouldn’t just improve rest—it would improve productivity, as well.
“Better work gets done in four days than in five,” Basecamp CEO Jason Fried told The New York Times. “When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important.” His company operates on a four-day workweek from May through October.
Online education company Treehouse, on the other hand, operates on a four-day workweek year round, and co-founder and CEO Ryan Carson says it’s been vital to their success.
“Four days of work allows just enough extra time off for employees to return to work refreshed and excited to get down to business,” he says. “It’s driving productivity and amazing results for our company.”