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Who Wants a Four-Day Work Week?

Who Wants a Four-Day Work Week?
February 10, 2022

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Since inception of the 40-hour work week during the Ford Motor heyday in 1926, there have been moments where lesser hours at the same pay seemed within reach. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt sought to end record-high unemployment with a “share-the-work” policy of 30-hour workweeks. Amidst outcries from business leaders, the plan fell short and was swapped instead for more work, through his ambitious and popularly remembered work initiatives in the New Deal. Since then, economists, business leaders, and even former President Nixon predicted we would be working less by now.

The Pandemic Lens on Work
Ever since the pandemic cut our commute times and proved that many meetings could be put into an email, we’ve been reflecting on our relationship with work. What do we need to be productive? Of course, there are the necessary software tools like Figma and Zoom. But there are also activities, mental health support, and downtime, all of which enable us to do better work. Yoga with Adriene, the Calm app, and doing absolutely nothing have all become popular methods of reinvigorating us and increasing our productivity. Doesn’t it follow that an extra day off could boost productivity, improve retention, and increase bottom lines?

The Four-Day Week in Practice
The non-profit organization, 4 Day Week Global, stresses that it is not an employee-wellness initiative, but rather a business initiative, resulting in improved productivity, greater staff retention, and – yes – even happier employees. Bolt permanently switched to a four-day workweek after a successful three-month trial.

As described in Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book Shorter: Work Better, Smarter, and Less—Here’s How a nursing home in Virginia was having a hard time maintaining its staff levels until it started paying 40 hours of wages for only 30 hours of work. They saved money on recruitment and overtime while reducing incidents of falls and injuries among the elderly residents.

It's not all good news, however, because in some cases, fewer days do indeed translate to fewer productive hours. Some companies are working 10 hour days to make up the difference. Employees at Bolt admit to feeling the pressure, citing more stress even with the added day off. For other employees, they miss the office chit-chat and social activities on the extra day.

For more companies who have made the switch, check out this article.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
861 Companies | 292 Funding Activities | 215 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Scandit raises $150MM from Warburg Pincus

Big Data • Round D • Zurich, Switzerland

Busybees raises $300MM from The Blackstone Group

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Analytics • Round D • Boston, MA

Kinova raises $60MM from Graham Partners

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Blockchain • Round C • Eden Prairie, MN

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Blockchain • Debt • Eden Prairie, MN

Scopio Labs raises $16MM from Olive Tree Ventures

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Neo Cybernetica raises $30MM from NEA

Technology • Equity • Greater Boston Area, MA

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NFT • Seed • Boston, MA

VisuWell raises $10MM from Fulcrum Equity Partners

Telemedicine • Round B • Chatanooga, TN

Doximity to acquire Amion 

Medical Scheduling • Announced • Newton, MA

Bringg acquires Zenkraft

Systems Integration • Acquisition • Newark, DE

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