As we consider what work should look like beyond this pandemic, we need to find new ways to achieve harmony across our professions, our passions, and our personal lives. The pandemic gave us widespread remote work, which afforded our team the flexibility to manage the demands of their home lives alongside their workday in ways that weren’t possible with a daily commute. But now, Kickstarter is going to try something even more drastic: a four-day workweek. This isn’t 40 hours compressed into four days. It’s 32 hours, total.
This decision stems from my belief that everyone who works for Kickstarter should have the ability to help propel the company forward while also pursuing their own creative projects, spending time with loved ones, and engaging with communities and causes that are important to them. I believe that by finding harmony between work and home, our team will make as much—if not more—meaningful progress toward our mission.
A pilot of our four-day workweek will begin in 2022, giving us time to build out clear goals and thoughtful implementation. At its core, testing a four-day workweek is about finding creative ways that our team can use our time and energy as potently as possible while also being more engaged and fulfilled by the work. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions: How will we run meetings when we have less time in the week? How do we achieve our goals as a team if individuals are working at different times? How will the company handle the reality that some teams work differently than others—particularly our staff who work directly with the creators and backers on our platform?
While we don’t know exactly how we’ll design this pilot yet, I know that reconfiguring the way we work will involve a lot of trial and error. That’s why it’s important that our team is excited about the change, and that we have the support of Kickstarter’s union in pursuing this new path. Despite the uncertainty, I am certain that what we learn from this test will be invaluable—not just for Kickstarter, but for other companies, too.
We’ve already learned from businesses like Buffer and Uncharted that employees are more engaged and productive at work and happier and healthier outside of it after implementing a four-day week. But while a four-day week is one means for more flexibility, it’s not a silver bullet. Flexible work hours and remote work options must be combined with other benefits like stipends for childcare, wellness needs, and creative work and cultural experiences.
Author Arundhati Roy has compared pandemics to portals, as they “have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew.” Kickstarter is seizing this opportunity to reimagine the way we work. I hope to meet the moment, redefine our ways of working, and build a vision of work that is harmonious, engaged, and impactful.
Aziz Hasan is the CEO of Kickstarter.