The four-day workweek works. This is why.

If you had told me before 2020 that CostumeBox would successfully adopt a fully remote four-day work week for our entire team, I would have laughed a lot at the idea. Yet that is exactly what we are doing now with great success, and we are not alone. In 2022, the transition to a four-day work week began to gain momentum. Indeed, several companies in Australia and New Zealand began a four-day trial workweek for a six-month pilot last month.

I co-founded CostumeBox with Roma Burke in 2007. CostumeBox is Australia’s one stop destination for online costumes, with the largest variety of costumes, accessories and party supplies. I studied archeology and Rome had a successful career running five-star hotels. Our background didn’t exactly suggest “online retailers”, however, CostumeBox’s retail success has been a testament to our collective love of innovation, customer service, and our passionate, hard-working team.

Nikki Yeaman and Roma Burke founders of CostumeBox
Nikki Yeaman and Roma Burke, co-founders of CostumeBox, embraced a fully remote four-day work week in 2020.

Roma and I embraced the four-day workweek, transitioning to a fully remote setup in the midst of the pandemic in March 2020. We were literally hours away from signing a five-year lease on new office space when we decided wait and see how the virus evolved. . The staff took their desktop computers home for “a couple of weeks” and the rest is history. Although it was a big change for us, our business has definitely seen benefits, one of the main ones being that we now employ talent from all over Australia instead of being limited geographically due to our office being in Sydney.

CostumeBox is living proof that businesses can still operate at peak performance while fostering flexibility and a healthy work-life balance for their staff.

3 Benefits of the Four-Day Workweek

How a fully remote four-day workweek has helped CostumeBox:

1. Higher morale and flexibility

Research shows that 75% of employees who work a four-day workweek are not only happier but also less stressed. This is something we have watched intensely over the last two years. We hold our meetings on Zoom, but also talk to each staff member individually to check in on how they feel and how we can improve the work-from-home experience for them. Happier employees boost morale, something any entrepreneur or business leader knows is beneficial to their team.

Leveraging remote work to coincide with our four-day workweek has finally given our staff more flexibility. Since there is no longer any additional travel time, the total hours each day are no longer than when we were working in an office environment, but are only 1.5 hours less than a standard work week. Our staff love this extra day they use to relax, enjoy their hobbies, and have more time to connect with family and friends. We are confident that this flexibility will result in great staff retention and for new hires it is definitely attractive to join the business.

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2. Better workflow and cohesion

At CostumeBox, we all work Monday through Thursday to optimize workflow and cohesion. Being always available these 4 days facilitates the scheduling of meetings and work between the team. We increase each workday by an additional hour, so our staff work a 9-hour shift, 4 days a week, and still receive a full-time salary. As a 24/7 online retailer, certain functions, such as our warehouse and customer service, must operate 5 days a week, so we use a shift system that rotates days off for those teams between Thursday and Friday.

A new work environment for us meant revaluing what is absolutely essential in day-to-day operations. One way to become more efficient in our four-day week is to reduce internal meetings. It’s important to step back and ask yourself: does everyone need to be at this meeting? How long should this meeting last? Could it be an email instead? Better use of time has led to increased productivity within our business.

3. A more active and balanced workforce

If your employees don’t prioritize their health and wellness, how will a company be sustainable? A four-day remote workweek offers increased opportunities for employees to stay healthy and balanced, improving their overall well-being and ability to work. To combat the lack of physical movement that working from home can bring, we encourage our team to keep moving. This is how we do it:

  • 10-minute team yoga sessions on YouTube twice a week.
  • Stand up at all meetings.
  • Encouraging meetings on foot.
  • It is recommended to get a dog (They are a good reason to leave home and a great company).

Maybe it’s time to consider changing your work environment from a five-day office week to a four-day remote work week. Not everything is smooth sailing, and it is important to establish a clear strategy to ensure the most successful outcome. As the leader of your business, use your own general knowledge and experience to adjust as needed based on real-time feedback and post-test experience.

Read more: The Best Business Books to Read (Recommended by Business Leaders)

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