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North Texas boss who adopted four-day workweek has challenge for other employers

The businessman says it's time for other employers to consider changes to the ways they have always done things.

DENTON, Texas — Recently, we put out an episode that may have had you screaming "YES!" at the computer screen. But some of you may have yelled other words. Let’s see how the sequel goes.

The challenge to business leaders

The story was our check-in with a Denton advertising firm called Swash Labs one year after they adopted a four-day workweek. 

That’s 32 hours -- same pay and same benefits as the five-day, 40-hour workweek they abandoned. 

And now, the boss behind that change has a challenge for other employers. 

Here come more words shouted at the computer screen: "What I challenge other business leaders to do is to think deeply and seriously about how you could change how you go about doing business in order to improve the working lives of your employees."

Josh Berthume, who says his company and employees have thrived under a shortened workweek, knows a lot of other business leaders may be hesitant to switch to this employee friendly perk.

But he says, "I'm not just a super squishy, totally intangible guy." He points out that he actually studied data science in school, so he’s a numbers guy. 

And he believes in many instances if you implement it correctly, your business numbers can be better when you reduce the number of work days, and even work hours for employees. 

"I can tell you that it's not just me saying everything feels better… and isn't that cool? There are real, actual business and capitalism-friendly benefits that a business owner could extract from this if they get out of the mode of thinking ‘I have to extract as much labor as I can and pay as little for it as I can and deliver as few benefits as I can,'" he said.

More data on the four-day workweek

He’s not alone on this. Thirty-three companies recently tried a four-day workweek pilot program. Afterward, none of them planned to return to the five-day model. 

On average, their revenue increased 38% from the same quarter in the prior year. And more than two-thirds of their employees reported less burnout. 

Many workers said it was such a benefit that they would have to make more money to go back to working a five-day week again. Most of them said they would want 10-50% more pay for that. Some said they would require more than a 50% raise. 

And some even said you couldn’t pay them enough to leave their four-day-a-week schedule. 

This has become a recruiting and retention tool. 

A recent survey by HR firm Robert Half found that 93% of U.S. managers support a four-day workweek and that 64% of them anticipate their company will transition to one within the next five years. 

Some of them may be your competitors. 

So, Berthume says all this data might help you justify making the change now, “You can go now to your shareholders. You can go now to your board. You can go down to your executive teams and say look– people across all kinds of industries have tried this and it has very real benefits and I think it's worth it for us to consider.”

If you still need more encouragement, Berthume shared this article as well as this one and this one to help make the case. 

Additionally, the same site that published the data on the recent 33-company pilot program just included data from another similar trial.

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