The 4-day working week was a remedy for employee burnout in the online store Primary


Key co-founders and co-CEOs Cristina Carbonell and Galyn Bernard have shifted the online children’s clothing retailer to a four-day work week during the pandemic and have no plans to return to the longer week. long.

Courtesy: Primary

Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs and rethinking what they want when it comes to work-life balance. Companies are responding, responding to the needs of their employees in areas such as remote working, flexible hours, four-day work weeks, compensation and more. This story is part of a series about the “big shakeup” and workplace culture shift that is happening right now.

Online children’s clothing retailer Primary’s four-day working week was born out of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its employees.

Long days of juggling work and family life took their toll.

“Everyone was really exhausted at the end of the week,” said Christina Carbonell, co-founder and co-CEO of Primary.

“When people came back on Monday, people just weren’t refreshed and it was affecting productivity.”

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In May 2020, the New York-based company shortened its work week and there was instant change, with people showing up to work looking younger. Everything is going so well that even after the crisis has passed, the advantage will still be part of the company culture – at least, as long as it still works as intended. This means focused employees and no drop in productivity.

“It’s life changing knowing you have that day to make up for everything, whether it’s thinking about a difficult work issue or making a doctor’s appointment you haven’t been to yet. “, said Galyn Bernard, co-founder. and co-CEO.

Since the retailer is online-only, it doesn’t have to worry about staffing physical stores. It’s 60 employees who work from Monday to Thursday, with the exception of the support team, which develops a four-day schedule that also covers Friday.

It’s life changing knowing you have that day to make up for it all.

Galyn Bernard

Co-founder and co-CEO of Primary

Employees receive the same salary and do not extend hours on the days they work. Instead, efficiency is key. Meetings were reduced and some times were even blocked as no meeting.

Deadlines for seasonal launches have not been changed and products have always arrived in warehouses on time.

“We haven’t had to give up on our ambition or our goals, or lighten people’s workloads,” Bernard said. “They really rose to the occasion.”

A head start in the “Great Reshuffle”

For Primary’s management team, the goal is the well-being of its employees, as well as the overall success of the business.

Yet there was also an unintended consequence in the era of the “great shakeup,” which saw Americans quitting their jobs in record numbers.

“Looking back over the past two years, we’ve seen our attrition rate stay pretty steady, which I consider a huge win,” said Cap Watkins, the company’s Chief Experience Officer.

As for job seekers and new recruits, many of them are initially skeptical about the policy.

“The response from new recruits is that it sounds too good to be true; they can’t believe we’re actually doing it,” Carbonell said.

“It’s certainly appealing to anyone looking to find the right balance in their life.”

A movement in motion

The idea of ​​a four-day workweek, which has been around since long before the pandemic, has gained traction as the crisis has changed the way people thought about their lives. There is now a culture shift underway as employers respond to meet employee needs and look after their well-being.

“People come to the idea that we have to be better in the workplace,” said Juliet B. Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College, who will conduct research on the four-week workweek global trials. days.

“We have to be human.”

The co-founders of Primary agree.

“Throughout the pandemic, people are going to ask, ‘when are you coming back?'” Carbonell said.

“For us, there’s really no ‘going back’,” she added. “There’s just kind of a new way forward that allows us to imagine a new way of working.”

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