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We decided to give our team every other Friday off. Here’s what happened

A friend of mine has a personal mantra for the pandemic: desperate times call for desperate pleasures. 

In times of prolonged stress, we need to be even more diligent about carving out time and space for wellbeing, not as a matter of leisure, but as a matter of survival—and these are stressful times indeed.

At Humu, the behavioral change startup where I work, we’ve seen just how much the anxiety, prolonged isolation, and uncertainty of the past year has affected employees. We work with Fortune 500 organizations across industries—including telecommunications, financial services, technology, and life sciences—to help leaders give their people the exact support they need to thrive at work. Across all of our customers, the top challenges since COVID hit have been related to combating burnout: leaders are looking for ways to improve emotional support in a virtual environment, while employees are asking for help striking a better work-life balance, coping with unparalleled uncertainty, and investing in their own resilience. 

Our team faced similar challenges. “The pandemic hit Humu hard,” said our CEO Laszlo Bock. “We saw that people were stressed by child care, elder care, even pet care. On top of that, even getting through mundane activities like grocery shopping became a source of stress.” So, in the spirit of our mission to make work better, we took a radical step—we decided to give our team every other Friday off. Here’s how we got there, and how it’s worked out so far:

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