Is less more? This summer, idfive decided to FAFO.
Starting June 2, our team started chopping Fridays in half for the whole summer—strategically, of course. We asked ourselves: would our deadlines and work quality suffer with 240 minutes less each week, or would happier employees lead to more meaningful hours spent fulfilling our mission—enhancing the good being done by our clients? Can we actually make this a thing?
Henry did it!
Most of the history books credit Henry Ford for standardizing the 8-hour-5-day work week. But his adjustments were only possible after many decades of labor leaders joined by hundreds of thousands of laborers demanding safer working conditions and shorter work days.
Henry was convinced that people would be more loyal and more productive in less time. He also believed that more leisure time would be good for the economy overall. By 1926, he shortened the workday to 8 hours and changed the Ford Motors factory schedule from a 6-day to a 5-day work week.
The result? Henry—and thousands of workers fighting for these changes—were correct. The Ford Motor Company experienced exponential growth, and productivity soared. The company retained its workforce for longer periods of time, and it wasn’t long before these changes became the standard for many businesses across the U.S.
Is “40” the magic number?
There are numerous studies around the world evaluating the work-life ratio—shifting the conversation away from hours and onto productivity, quality, and output. Studies facilitated by groups like 4 Day Week Global and others have helped inform idfive’s leadership team in designing and launching: fiver fun Fridays.
What difference does it make?
So far, for fivers, four hours is making all the difference.
“Essentially, we have 12 summers of togetherness before the kids begin to lead their own lives,” is how Caitlin Currey, Associate Vice President of Creative Strategy, explained the magic of Friday afternoons. “Having half of a Friday to head to the lake early together will be something my kids remember forever.”
Umpf. You can’t argue with that.
How is the rest of the team using their fiver fun Friday?
- “I’m going hiking!” Kathe Flynn, Creative Director
- “Dissertating.” Andres Zapata, Founder
- “I’m going back to my hizzouse and moving out the remainder of my framed art and my fish tank.” Jayvie Arellano, Web Support Lead
- “Relaxing my back. LOL.” Sarah Yalov, Designer
- “I’m (further) clogging my arteries with a pizza!” Dr. Sean Carton, Chief Strategist
- “Meeting with a wedding coordinator!” Allison Grande, Account Executive
- “Going to pick out hardware for our soon-to-be-painted kitchen cabinets, then coaching T-Ball. Mark Mende, Senior Account Executive
- “I’ve got a hankerin’ for one of the best BBQ spots that I’ve ever found.” Brad Walker, Senior Web Developer
- “Heading up to Albany for some weekend mountain hiking in the Adirondacks.” Wyatt Haversack, Assistant Creative Strategist
- “Going to the gym with the family!” Jefferson Andrés Patrón Cáceres, Web Developer
- “Working on two new songs and then hangin’ with my kids and wife.” Adrian Bertolone, Senior Account Executive
- “Visiting a buddy in D.C.” Andrew White, Director of User Experience and Information Design
- “Farmer’s market.” Peter Toran, Lead Strategist
- “I’m going to park my butt on the couch and read gothic horror novels until my heart’s content.” Mónica Rodríguez-Pérez, Copywriter
- “Kayaking—if it doesn’t rain!” Deb, Dudley, Senior Copywriter, that’s me!
- “Laundry. Coffee—NOT from home.” Pat Balasavage, Sr. User Experience and Interface Designer
- “For my fiver Fun Friday afternoon, I think I may stroll through the garden center for some pick-me-up plants.” Katelyn Brickey, Associate Director of Client Services
The friends and family factor is powerful, especially as we reconnect and re-educate ourselves in the art of in-person living, powering down our computers to get a headstart on Bay Bridge traffic for a weekend at the beach, packing up the car for a camping trip with friends, beating the crowds at the nearby BBQ hotspot, or meeting with a wedding planner without having to take personal time off from work to figure out how to celebrate your next life adventure.
And for our Support Services Manager, Betty Muñoz, it was extra hours to experience holding her first grandchild in her arms and showing the newborn off to the rest of the family.
Other fivers seem more in favor of recharging their social battery and their body/minds. “I was able to take my first yoga class ever,” added Chris Mortlock, Senior Art Director, who was able to fit the class into his now-open Friday afternoon schedule. “It was Yin Yoga, and it really tested my patience in standing still for a change. I always thought I might not be flexible enough to take a class, but that’s probably the best reason to go.”
So far, we’ve found there’s really no wrong way to fiver fun a Friday.
But, is less more for our partners?
Now that this summer’s experiment is underway, we are optimistic, but there is work to be done and data to be collected. One hundred years of a 40-hour work week might be a tough habit to shake, and fivers aren’t going to risk anything when it comes to prioritizing our partners. Shaving off those 240 minutes means recalibrating our internal process and maximizing our time on delivering for our clients. We are determined to prove, as numerous studies suggest, that overall quality and productivity can increase despite the shorter work week.
As with everything we do at idfive, we are not going to just talk the talk—we’re going to walk the walk, find the yin in the yoga for the first time, cherish the afternoon at the lake with the kids, or whatever fivers are doing on a Friday afternoon. And when we come back rested and refreshed, we will double down on the heart and hustle, enhancing the good of our amazing clients. That is non-negotiable, and we think Henry would agree.
As a communications practitioner, Deb leads with an open and hungry heart, eager to listen, learn, and leverage the unique ingredients within each client’s story. She believes the delicious is in the details and loves to find creative ways to elevate the flavors and textures that advance important mission-driven work. Her enthusiasm for language in all formats and channels has resulted in a diverse portfolio of leadership roles for publishers, domestic and international non-profit advocacy organizations, and both public and private universities. Deb’s penchant for cultural immersion has resulted in an equally diverse collection of home addresses: Chicago, Cairo, Limassol, Berlin, San Francisco, and Brooklyn. These days, Deb can be found learning how to repair a sump pump and experimenting with venison recipes at home in Northern New York.