Raleigh NC startup turns to 4-day work weeks, why they work

The downtown Raleigh offices of CX Pilots, which is one of the few Triangle companies experimenting with four-day work weeks.

The downtown Raleigh offices of CX Pilots, which is one of the few Triangle companies experimenting with four-day work weeks.

The downtown Raleigh places of work of CX Pilots, which is among the few Triangle corporations experimenting with four-day work weeks.


Steven Keith says his workers get extra accomplished once they work solely 4 days per week.

It might sound counterintuitive, however after practically six months of clocking 32-hour work weeks, his workers agrees.

Keith is the founding father of CX Pilots, a consulting startup in downtown Raleigh that helps corporations higher join with their shoppers. In July, he joined an rising nationwide pattern by implementing a four-day work week for his small workplace of seven.

“We have been petrified of hypocrisy,” Keith mentioned, explaining the impetus for the change.

Work-life steadiness is a core precept CX Pilots preaches to different corporations.

Most workers started taking off Fridays. Some Mondays. Their pay remained unchanged. Keith admitted he nonetheless averages round 70 hours per week, the type of demanding startup tempo he loathes however, at current, finds unavoidable.

Based mostly on metrics collected by their firm’s inner productivity-tracking system, CX Pilot workers say their particular person efficiency has elevated since their hours fell.

“When you will have a three-day weekend, you’re feeling far more fulfilled on the non-public entrance, which interprets into productiveness,” mentioned Joe Bell, the corporate’s chief advertising officer. “It creates a mutual respect and a drive.”

‘Life will be actually quick’

The 40-hour work week was federally codified within the Truthful Labor Requirements Act of 1940, however it’s fallen below extra scrutiny lately, particularly since COVID-19 upended different long-held office norms.

In 2021, Home Democrats launched a invoice to decrease the federal work week from 40 hours to 32. And this fall, a six-month research from the advocacy non-profit 4 Day Week World garnered widespread information protection when taking part corporations reported larger income, fewer resignations, and fewer sick days upon switching to 4 days.

“The aftershock of the pandemic is ringing all through,” mentioned Nate Jones, an information analyst at CX Pilots. “Life will be actually quick, so I wish to spend extra high quality time with folks I like and likewise not burn myself out.”

Jones described Mondays as his “private working days,” a time to deal with sundry duties (docs’ appointments, automobile upkeep, laundry, cooking) that may extra simply pile up when every weekday is occupied.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a program director at 4 Day Week World, mentioned it typically takes time for workers and employers to acclimate to schedules which are 20% shorter than what they’re used to.

“The muscle reminiscence that we should work lengthy hours so as to do good work or to maintain our jobs is one that’s seeped into all of us,” he mentioned. “Nearly each firm studies the primary couple of weeks (of four-day work weeks) being a bit like transferring to a different nation. Issues are somewhat unusual. Individuals are driving on the mistaken aspect of the street. However ultimately you alter.”

Can the 4-day mannequin catch on?

Just a few native corporations have examined four-day work weeks.

“Each time we are saying we’re doing a four-day work week, we all the time get type of the eyeroll of like, ‘Should be good’ or ‘We may by no means try this,’” mentioned Sarah Williams, co-founder of Offset Collective, a Triangle-based advertising company that takes Fridays off. “I believe there’s an assumption that it may by no means be accomplished in different folks’s environments.”

Fred Stutzman, the founder and CEO of the Triangle tech startup Freedom, famous four-day weeks aren’t one thing corporations should decide to fully to ensure that them to work. Since 2018, he’s given his workers each different Friday off over the summer season. The corporate employs round 25 folks globally.

However working on 4 days for 52 weeks a 12 months, he mentioned, “would definitely be an excessive amount of for us to do.”

Keith can be not sure how the 32-hour week mannequin will fare as his firm scales. Integrated in 2016, CX Pilot goals to have round 20 to 30 workers by this time subsequent 12 months.

“We’re gonna be taking over much more shoppers, much more work, much more accountability,” Keith mentioned. “And we’re gonna should hold it in perpetual concord with our model, our tradition. Is there a tipping level?”

Keith returns to the purpose greater than as soon as that that is an ongoing experiment for his firm. Is the four-day week a luxurious for a small startup or a possible, useful aim for all? He doesn’t but know the reply, however he and his workers have the fervour to seek out out.

This story was produced with monetary help from a coalition of companions led by Innovate Raleigh as a part of an unbiased journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial management of the work.

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Brian Gordon is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The Information & Observer and The Herald-Solar. He writes about jobs, start-ups and all the large tech issues reworking the Triangle.