On June 1, 2015, I told my employees that we were going to try something different that summer: a 5-hour workday. At the time, there were only seven people on my team. We all knew each other well, and I was aware that they were all highly productive hard workers. If I needed proof, we were ranked #239 on the Inc. 500 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies that year. I was looking for a way to reward my team while still incentivizing high-performance behavior. I felt like I had found it in the 5-hour workday.
At the summer’s end, I decided to make the change a permanent one. A year later, I announced the results of this experiment to the world and was met with a mixture of fascination and puzzlement. Some thought it admirable, others unwise, but almost all felt like it was a model that just “wouldn’t quite work” for their company. In business, a year is little more than a snap of the fingers. I needed more time to know if it would even work for my company.
The 5-hour workday is obviously a benefit to employees. Who doesn’t want to get off work at 1:00 in the afternoon? Still, I was running a business. I needed to know that this model was something that would allow my company to thrive and, hopefully, would allow others to as well. The verdict? Well, it’s complicated.