comundo was founded people-first. Sure, we knew we were on to something with the product, but to build the team – the group of people who would ultimately be responsible for the success of the company – that was something else.
The Happy Employee™
It’s common knowledge that happy employees are better employees, but just how do you make “a happy employee”?
We knew it involved job satisfaction – making sure that everyone could feel the impact they were making through their work, and that they were part of an open and trusting community where there was zero judgement. That, we could definitely do.
But does that really make people happy?
We weren’t so sure. What we did know was that what had a huge impact in work was what was happening out of work, but how could we possibly influence that?
The four-day working week
What if everyone in the company gets an extra day on the weekend? Would that make them happy?
The more we looked into it, the more we felt it would. Studies show that a four-day working week:
- Improves mental and physical health
- Increases work/life balance
- Increases productivity
- Improves employees’ skillsets
- Increases community engagement and volunteerism
- Reduces employee turnover
- Reduces sick days
- Reduces a company’s carbon footprint
- And has a positive impact on a business’s bottom line
Not bad, right?
It would give people time to do whatever it is they needed to do in order to rest, recharge and recuperate.
That could be spending more time with friends and family – or by themselves. It could be listening to all those podcasts the working week and family-filled weekends just don’t allow for. It could be working out at the gym, doing yoga or taking a long walk. It could be cuddling a cat, volunteering, or just catching up on some much-needed sleep.
Whatever it is, we knew it sounded good.
We knew it would help people not only feel appreciated and heard at work but also feel that their working week was one they could both manage and feel proud of.
But before we jumped headfirst into a whole new world of work, we wanted to be absolutely sure that we did it right – especially as a startup! The last thing we wanted was to burn people out by not managing our time correctly. After all, we still had five days of work to get through … So we reached out to the Nordic’s leading authority on the four-day working week, Pernille Garde Abildgaard.
Learning from the best
In May 2023, we had our first workshop about the four-day working week with Pernille. It was, to say the least, eye-opening.
In that first workshop, she had a brilliant analogy using the Fosbury Flop.
Before 1968, nobody had heard of the Fosbury Flop. It didn’t exist. In fact, when Dick Fosbury first jumped over the bar like that, people thought he was crazy. But a gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City made people think again, and when you think of the high jump now, what do you see in your mind’s eye?
This is a long-winded way of saying; just because the five-day working week is what we’re all used to, doesn’t mean it’s the best way of working.
But getting to know a new way of working isn’t easy. We’ve had to unlearn everything we knew about our typical working day and learn an entirely new routine. One that would become the norm, and help us work more efficiently and effectively than we ever had done before.
We had to learn how to truly focus; how to really unwind; how to prioritise and how to delegate. We had to learn new norms around meetings, emails (who needs CC anyway) and our day-to-day working environment.
We know what you’re thinking; what, you don’t do all that already? But trust us, if you need to get five days of work done in four, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Luckily, Pernille knows all of this (and then some), and she comes chock-full of tried and tested methods on how to manage our time in order to maximise productivity. We use these methods each and every day, and as everyone in the company is in the same shoes, there is a remarkable amount of respect when it comes to each other’s time.
If we want this to work, we have to work together.
So what now?
Well, in June 2023, the first group of people moved to a four-day week – with full pay (everyone starts out with three months of full-time work to make sure they’re fully onboarded).
We’re armed with the best tools, the best teacher (that’s you, Pernille), and of course, the best team.
So far, we’re all getting our work done, we’re making the platform better than ever, and, most importantly, we’re happy employees.
Here’s to a new way of working.