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Before joining Buffer as a content writer in 2022, I had a lot of experience working. I worked both as an intern and undergrad. When I was 22 years old, I held a full-time, 40-hour per week position at a non-profit and worked as a TV/movie reporter at a popular newspaper. It wasn’t until my move to Buffer, that I was exposed to the concept of the four-day workweek.
The content writer position on Buffer’s Journey page was the first time I saw it. I did a double-take. was the first company I saw advertise a shorter workweek on their benefits page. This is out of all the jobs that I have applied for, and I can attest to this. To clarify, Buffer takes Fridays off, but still pays our full salary.
Since its inception, Buffer has been completely remote. This is a significant advantage over many other companies that made the transition. Since 2010, Buffer has been completely remote. This is a significant change for many people who are familiar with Buffer’s culture, our CEO Joel Gascoigne, and Jordan Morgan, an iOS engineer who has been a Bufferoo since 2015.
Jordan said, “It wasn’t surprising me, but it was a good thing.” Joel’s bold approach to running the company is why I like it. That’s why I love working here… he’s always looking out for us.”
Experts agree that the four-day work week is beneficial for both employees and the company. I will share my experiences with a shorter workweek and how my colleagues spend Fridays off.
Why would you change to a 4-day work week?
Buffer employees needed more flexibility and support during difficult times. We decided to change to a shorter week for 2020. The first months of the pandemic were difficult for many people on a personal level. It also made it more difficult for many to maintain a work-life balance. In late 2020, a survey found that 70% of workers began working on weekends, while only 45 percent were working longer hours than before the pandemic. This was because the lockdown measures blurred the lines between home and office.
The initial four-day work week was a trial at Buffer. However, after several months of internal surveys and a few months, it became a permanent fixture by 2021. Our team felt more productive and had more autonomy. They also reported feeling happier. Buffer has been four months in the making and I can confirm all of these benefits.
It’s like only working four days per week
It took me several weeks to adjust to the new schedule. It was odd that Thursday came around, and people would comment in Slack “Have a great weekend.” It was hard to remember that Friday meetings could not be scheduled and that end-of-week deadlines had to be met by Thursday. My anxiety was even greater as I began to wonder if it was possible to complete the work in four days.
Slowly, however, I realized that this schedule was achievable. I have been able complete all my projects and attend all meetings. I also have enough time to do weekly donut calls (our optional weekly pairing calls with another Buffer colleague). My mental productivity was also boosted by knowing I had only four days to complete my tasks.
Heather You, core engineer at Buffer said that her team has also adapted to shorter weeks through good time management and intentional communication.
She said, “We learn to manage our time efficiently and effectively so that no one is required to work more days or on their days off.” “We try to minimize our meetings and work together as synchronously as possible.”
This level of flexibility is not common, at least according to my experience. In the U.S., there are many people quitting undervalued, underpaid and overworked jobs. Buffer’s experience has been a blessing. This was my first job in which I didn’t have to check in with my boss. This freedom is very liberating in a world where many companies monitor their employees and assign value to work output. Buffer values my opinion and my work, but also my time.
What can we do with Friday’s Off?
Fridays are different, which is the great thing about them. Some Fridays, I stay up until 11 a.m. Sometimes I schedule appointments or errands. It’s been used as a travel day to allow me to maximize my vacation time. A few Fridays have been used for overflow work, to ensure a smooth start to the week.
It’s not unusual to do this, as many people use Fridays to catch up on work. It has been so helpful to have an extra day. Because I have the option to spend an extra hour on Friday if I need it, it gives me more flexibility.
I was curious about how my colleagues spend Fridays, so I spoke to five of them. Here are their thoughts.
Spending quality time with your family
Jordan, an IOS engineer from Missouri, has been with Buffer since 2006.
When the schools reopened in person, I was thrilled because I could take my kids to school every Friday morning. It’s something I have never done before. My wife stays home and takes care everything. It’s like I was a stay-at-home dad for a few days. It’s great because it allows me to give my wife some time off from the responsibilities of being a stay-at-home parent, which is very hard. We have three children.
Fridays are so exciting for my son. Because he knows that I will take him to school and that he’ll be driving, he loves it. He wakes up on Friday mornings with a skip in the step. My younger siblings will also be able to experience this later.
Spending Fridays with his wife
On Friday mornings we walk a trail and catch up on the week. Then we head to Target almost every Friday. It’s all fun and silly, little things you may take for granted like taking your children to school, going to the gym, then shopping at Target.
Getting errands done
Heather is a core engineer, based in New York, and has been with Buffer since January.
Buffer has allowed me to have a four-day work week. It’s been amazing. I am happier than ever and love my job more. My colleagues and I have a great working environment. They are supportive, positive, and trusting. Buffer has given me a lot more heads-down time than any other job where I worked five days a week.
Flexible work hours are also possible with the four-day workweek. Surprise for me, I find it easier to schedule appointments on a weekday than on weekends.
Many of the chores I used to plan to do over one weekend now can be spread over three days. This gives me more time to reflect and rest. Fridays are like bonus days to me. I get to catch up on work or personal tasks that I missed during the week.
This has allowed me to relax, read, or take a course in a language I was interested in learning. I feel recharged and ready for the next week.
Day of overflow
Ismail, a product designer from Morocco, has been with Buffer since nine months.
My work-life balance has been improved and my well-being is better because of the four-day workweek . A shorter work week helps me to focus on my work, and allows me to take time off and rest over longer weekends. I can also spend quality time with my family and friends.
Although I had some doubts at first, I found that I was more productive than I believed. I found that prioritizing my tasks helped me keep my focus and was a great way to get my work done.
Friday is a day I choose to spend intentionally. It’s a chance to see doctors and make other appointments, without having to take time off my job.
My four-day work week does not mean I do nothing work-related on Fridays. Sometimes I use this day to prepare for the following week and catch up on the news I missed during weekdays. It helps me get started on the next week.
Traveling around the globe
Octa is a Buffer senior customer advocate. He has been with Buffer since 2008. He currently travels the world and doesn’t have a place to call home.
The four-day workweek has changed my life. It is the best thing I have ever done since joining Buffer. It finally gave us the work-life balance we have been searching for.
You can make more time for new activities by having an extra day off the week. It’s almost like I’m on a mini vacation every week, in whatever place I’m at. It has made me more productive and happier. It’s amazing!
Working Fridays through Monday
It doesn’t really matter that I travel every day, it just matters that it is all the same. Because of the lesser number of tourists and attractions at the places I visit, it’s better to take a rest day in the middle of week. For example, flying on weekdays is always more affordable than flying on weekends.
His love for travel
Since 2008, I have been full-time traveling. At first, I thought it would take me four years to do it. It just kept getting better. It’s a way of life. This is something I am extremely grateful for the Buffer team.
It’s all a story.
Fridays are “Free-days.”
Julia, a senior customer advocate from Los Angeles, is with Buffer since 2006.
It’s hard for me to imagine returning to , not and working a 4-day week. It’s been 2 years since we began to experiment with it. I have used it in many different ways, which is what makes it so great.
I’ve been using schedules that had me taking Mondays off and Fridays on, but am now on the Fridays-off schedule. This is because our Advocacy team staggered days to ensure we have global coverage. It has become a day that I can use as a “free” day and not just as an extension of the weekend. It allows me to have a relaxing weekend, not being overtaken with errands or “to-do”s. It’s great that I have a day off if I need it to catch up on my work. Our mindset of getting the right stuff done makes me feel less stressed than trying to squeeze the same amount of things into a shorter time frame.
The four-day work week, like my coworkers has had a tremendous impact on my overall health. I have a better work performance and output. I also feel more free to live the life I love and do the things I enjoy.
We are happy to share our four-day workweek experiences with others. We welcome any questions on Twitter.
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