comundo: Our 4-Day Work Week

Explore comundo's innovative shift to a 4-day workweek in our case study. Learn how they implemented it, the impact it had, and their future plans.

comundo: Our 4-Day Work Week

In 2022, comundo, a Copenhagen-based carbon accounting firm, made a bold move by initiating their startup company with a four-day workweek, challenging the conventional 9-to-5 work culture.

They did it without extending daily work hours to 10 or cutting salaries by 20%. Instead, they reduced the workweek to just 32 hours while continuing to provide full salaries to all employees.

Curious about the outcome? Well, we spoke with Lara Mulady at comundo for an inside look at how it's working out.

How have you implemented your 4-day work week?

We’re pretty unique in our setup. We think we’re the only startup company that was established with a four-day week from the get-go.

Everyone starts on a five-day week for three months in order to complete a successful onboarding, then transitions to a four-day week.

The first three months are busy but manageable, as any onboarding is or should be. New team members need to become acquainted with the rest of the team, the industry, the role, the product, customers, competitors, and, of course, the four-day week – there's a lot to learn and get used to.

Comundo Staff

Once it’s time to make the switch, each new team member has a thorough introduction to the concept of the four-day week and the methods we use to work with it successfully.

Core to this is the belief that you have to earn your extra day off. It’s not just a gift. If we don’t work efficiently and effectively for four days, we’ll have to bring that fifth day back. Because we have to be so focused on efficiency and effectiveness, we have to respect and welcome different ways of working.

This means being flexible. If someone wants to work from home for a day or two a week so they can avoid all distractions, then they can. Also, if there is a public holiday during the week, we work on a Friday. We really need those four days!

How did external expertise contribute to the successful implementation of your four-day workweek?

We were lucky enough to have guidance on the four-day week from the Nordic expert, Pernille Garde Abildgaard, and from someone who is well-versed in the four-day week, having been working with it for four years, Bo Kønskov Hansen from Abtion.

They’ve both been instrumental in helping us structure our time and understand how to manage the four-day week.

How does your team manage time, maintain focus, and ensure efficiency during the 4-day workweek?

One of the tools or techniques we use is the Pomodoro time management technique. This approach divides work into 25-minute intervals, where you focus 100% on a task.

  • No emails
  • No Slack
  • No chat

We schedule 12 of these focused sessions each week, synchronized across all teams. It has proven to be extremely effective.

What has the feedback been from employees since switching to a 4-day week?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive!

We recently reviewed our first well-being survey results from Q3 2023, conducted after everyone transitioned to the four-day week.

The results were very interesting:

  • 83% report that a four-day workweek enhances their work-life balance.
  • 77% feel it improves their physical health.
  • 82% have noticed an improvement in mental health.
  • 77% experience lower stress levels at work.
  • 83% find that it improves their relationships with their loved ones.
  • 48% report improved sleep quality.
  • 77% feel having Fridays off helps them recharge and be more productive during the workweek.

Overall, our transition to a four-day workweek has been highly successful, not just in terms of task management but also in enhancing our individual well-being.

Coumundo 4 day week results

What strategies does your company employ to evaluate work processes and overall performance?

We recognize the need for continuous improvement, which is why we conduct regular surveys.

It's crucial for any organization to consistently assess the team's perspectives and sentiments regarding their workplace, the nature of their work, and their working methods.

This is particularly important for a company operating on a four-day week schedule. The shortened workweek intensifies the pressure on performance, necessitating a carefully maintained and nurtured balance at all times.

If you had to describe your company's culture in 3 words, what would it be?

If I were to describe our company's culture in three words, they would be

  • Community
  • Mastery
  • Doing Good.

These values perfectly encapsulate what we stand for and strive towards.

Given that employees only work 4 days, have there been any process changes to make the company more efficient?

With our 4-day workweek, we've made several process changes to boost efficiency.

We now keep meetings at a minimum – minimum people, minimum time, and minimum meetings in general! You know the whole ‘this meeting could have been an email’ meme? It’s like that but on steroids. Currently, we only have two meeting durations: 20 and 45 minutes (soon, we're going to trial a 10-minute max).

No chit-chat. No pastries and coffee. Just business.

What do you need? How can we get it done?

It might sound strict, but the sense of accomplishment we get is truly rewarding. Of course, there are exceptions, but as a general rule, we make sure that only the key people are invited to a meeting and that the meeting is as short as we can make it.

What do you do to encourage professional development at your company?

At our company, we conduct quarterly reviews and one-on-ones, with the frequency determined by each manager and their team. Also, we encourage external training when the budget allows!

What we consistently do, and plan to keep doing, is host an in-house co-creation day every quarter. This happens on a Friday in a relaxed, casual setting, where we dedicate the day to activities that educate us or enhance our work.

These activities can vary, such as:

  • A day spent dismantling our product and seeing how we can make it better or
  • A day where one team shares what they're working on and where they would take things if they had an unlimited budget or
  • A day spent focusing on our work processes, like what we did last month.

We used the results from our well-being survey to delve into how we can further improve our work environment.

How is the company structured?

The company has a very flat structure. This means there are no closed doors in our approach, promoting open communication and ensuring that everyone is well-informed and involved.

What is the interview process like at comundo?

Culture is a key factor to us at comundo, so we place a great deal of emphasis on personality and empathy. We believe skills can always be learned. Wherever possible, we ensure that prospective team members meet with their future team to gauge if there's a good fit and whether they'll gel well together.

Have you seen any drawbacks to working a 4-day workweek?

Not yet!

What is the company's focus for 2024?

Our primary focus next year is on growth.

This will be super interesting as we navigate the challenges associated with the four-day workweek.

We're lucky to begin with a smaller team (we’re currently 20) on the four-day week schedule, allowing us to grow alongside this system rather than attempting to transition from a five-day week with a much larger team of over 100 people.

Our Take

comundo's experience is an inspiring example of how you can reap the benefits of a shorter working week. Whilst the positive outcomes they've achieved - from enhanced employee well-being to maintaining productivity - are outstanding, they are what we've come to expect when companies switch to a 4 day work week.

If you're in a similar sector and pondering such a change, comundo's journey offers valuable insights. It's a testament to a shortened workweek's potential benefits and feasibility.

Considering a similar move? Let comundo's success story guide and inspire you. Schedule a Free 30-minute Consultation with founder Phil McParlane, to discuss the details.

For more on comundo's journey and career opportunities, explore their job openings.