At Chicago Ideas Week, we had the fortune of hearing Jason Fried, President of Chicago-based web application company, 37signals, author, and signal vs. noise blogger. Jason is a bit of a celebrity in the project and time management arena and has recently inspired us with his view on a summer four-day work week.
A little research into Jason’s various articles on this topic uncovers that since 2008, from May – October, all 35 people in his company execute all their normal job tasks, within a four-day week without extending their daily hours. The idea is to work harder, not to work longer as “working longer hours doesn’t translate to better results.” They accomplish this by squeezing out the inefficiencies and looking at the workplace from a different perspective, one similar to a library.
If you think of a library as a place to learn, study and get stuff done, then this is the environment Jason desires for his employees. Although they work in an open cubicle space, work is done with minimal noise and distractions and a focus on learning. They aim to displace excess “meetings, interruptions, web surfing, office politics, and personal business that permeates typical work day.” This enables an even longer weekend, where employees come back refreshed as well as being happy with their workplace.
“So don’t think four days means cramming the same amount of time into a shorter week. Longer days isn’t the goal. Think four days means a shorter week with less time to get things done. And that’s what you actually want.” We all tend to be more efficient with our time if we have less of it to begin with.
Would a three-day weekend inspire you to work more efficiently?