Working less takes a lot of work. Just ask the companies trying four-day schedules.

At ThredUp, an Oakland, Calif.-based online clothing reseller, moving its nearly 300 salaried employees to a Monday-to-Thursday week meant culling meetings, focusing on the most important work and curtailing lengthy email exchanges. The shorter week can get hectic, and work sometimes spills into Fridays, but employees say having more time to recharge is worth it.

“It’s not for everybody,” said ThredUp’s chief people officer, Natalie Breece, who helped lead the transition. “It requires a constant evaluation of your own behaviors and your organization’s behaviors to move faster.”

Once a workers’ pipe dream, the four-day, 32-hour workweek is gaining ground as hundreds of employers try the schedules and businesses rethink the conventional ways of work. The United Auto Workers made the shorter week a demand in its contract talks with Detroit automakers. Lawmakers in California, Massachusetts and other states have introduced bills aimed at pushing more businesses to adopt a four-day schedule. Most proposals are long shots but signify the appeal in policy circles.

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September 25, 2023
Wall Street Journal