Bolt is an online shopping software fintech startup based in San Francisco. It helps retailers to speed up their online checkout experience and has seen its business boom during the pandemic with the pivot to online shopping due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
As part of this, Bolt has announced it will be introducing a four-day working week for the next three months; however, there is the possibility this will be a permanent fixture of its company culture.
Under this plan, employees will be able to take every Friday off. However, customer-facing teams will achieve their four-day working week by working shifts to ensure that clients’ needs are met.
In an interview with Fast Company, CEO Ryan Breslow notes: “It’s all about keeping standards of execution high, while still putting the team’s health and well-being first.”
Breslow believes longer weekends will help employees stay focused at work, as well as allow them proper downtime to recover and recharge, which will, in turn, help them be more creative at work.
However, Bolt is clear that this is not about squishing five days’ worth of work and meetings into four days. Bolt vice president of product Nisha Victor told Fast Company: “If we tried to squeeze in everything we were doing in five days into four days, whether it’s the same number of meetings, the same collaborations, etcetera, I don’t think that will lend itself well to success.
“I think the key is to be intentional about how we make the most out of the four days, prioritize the things that we really need to collaborate with other folks on, and start eliminating the meetings where we’re optional attendees.”
In addition, Bolt is encouraging managers to lead by example and actually unplug and take a break from work on Fridays. The company is also allowing managers to choose ‘teams days’ where whole teams have a day off to reset and recharge.
Bolt may be the first unicorn to take this plunge, but it is unlikely to be last to switch up the five-day working week.
More and more research is showing that a shorter working week is good for productivity as well as work-life balance and burnout, which is a hot topic at the moment.
For example, a recent four-year study in Iceland with 2,500 employees found that productivity either remained the same or improved despite working five fewer hours a week and no drop in pay. There was also a reduction in stress and burnout and reduction in overtime.
In addition, the Icelandic study found that four-day working week was excellent for talent attraction. So could introducing this perk be a solution to the ‘Great Resignation’?