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This company had one of its best years ever after switching to a four-day week

Scott Wilson founded his Chicago design firm Minimal 14 years ago, after leading design at big companies like Nike and Motorola. When you first meet him, you know how he’s done it: He’s the epitome of energetic. He thinks fast. He speaks fast. He’s the type of person who somehow gets just a few hours of sleep each night, but manages to walk into the office each day with a pep in his step.

Wilson knows this is weird. And when COVID hit last year, he recognized something even more strange: “I’ve had renewable energy for my whole career. Even after my hardest day, I bounce back,” he says. “But I was feeling fatigued.”

If Wilson was worn down by the COVID world, he knew that his team could only be feeling it worse. So last summer, he instituted a new policy at Minimal: a four-day week for the season, with Fridays off.

“The thinking was around emotional and mental wellness,” explains Wilson, but he had practical reasons for the three-day weekends, too. In Chicago, winters are long, and summers are short. There’s not a lot of time to get out and explore, especially with COVID travel restrictions. “When you can’t travel via plane, two days is tough to drive to places and really unplug.” But if people had three days? Suddenly, spending eight hours in a car over the weekend wasn’t so illogical.

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