Defining the 4-day work week for remote marketers

Feel guilty for wanting a shorter work week when your parents and grandparents “got by just fine” working 40 hours a week? Feel overwhelmed but also like a failure for not “being able to handle it”? Has the pandemic made your work/life conflict abundantly clear?

Whether the pandemic has stretched your emotional resources thin or new life events have made your plate more full, there are legitimate reasons for wanting an extra day back in your week. Data Driven Marketers (DDM) is on a mission to normalize that need.

Why the 4-day work week?

There are conflicting opinions about whether the 4-day work week is good or bad. So why did DDM adopt it? The concept of the 4-day work week is never implemented the same way twice. Cramming 40 hours into 4 days with 10-hour shifts? Reducing full-time hours? Hiring more staff to spread the work out? Many iterations are piloted and tested for replicability across the global stage.

Working people have been pushing for shorter work days since 1866 (the end of the Civil War). But did you know that the 40-hour/5-day “work week” was a response to that and that it was only signed into federal law in 1940? You heard right. We’ve only had the 40-hour work week for 82 years. Then, as now, people insisted limiting the work week to 40 hours was a “bad idea” for similar concerns such as decreased output, decreased annual earnings, and fast-moving markets. Today, the 40-hour week persists because the fight for this model was hard won. While we can appreciate it as progressive for the 1940s, we shouldn’t continue to accept anxiety-driven workplaces just to honor past victories.

What does that mean? It means we understand the context of the 40-hour work week. It also means we understand how our context has drastically changed. Nearly 100 years makes a difference in consciousness, economies, and technology. DDM questioned these long-standing rules around “work” and dove deep into the research to understand whether the 40-hour work week is still relevant for our needs.

Say goodbye to 40-hour work weeks at DDM

After researching the 5-day versus 4-day work week models, DDM decided to expand on the concept of a shorter work week. We want to give power back to the employees rather than micromanaging their time or trying to shove a “one-size fits all” schedule onto everyone’s unique lives. We’re thrilled to offer a 35-hour work week to our employees with no-expectation Fridays (adopting the best part of a 4-day work week without the pressure to work 10+ hour days).

Gallup research indicates that pairing the 4-day work week with flexibility increases employee engagement and well-being. DDM’s 35-hour work week isn’t just a “shorter week”—it also breaks the 9–5 mold AND the Monday–Friday mold.

DDM staff moves their hours around to accommodate their schedules from week to week, simply staying “available” via mobile apps during “business hours.” Even then, when you’re going to be unavailable, you simply communicate it to the team, mark “out of office” on your calendar, and spend that time stress-free, doing whatever makes your life meaningful. Pick back up during the times when YOU work best. After all, some of us are night owls.

Marketing, like most professions, has “busy” seasons and cycles. If staff work over 35 hours on any given week, we pay overtime. Next, we reevaluate your book of business to make sure your workload is in alignment with the 35-hour week and reduce it when it isn’t. Tasks taking longer than expected? We’ll support you with training, adjusting time estimates, or redistributing the workload among other staff. Too much scheduled in the week or unexpected life events happen? We’ll look at the timeline to see how we can adjust due dates.

Our staff works together to keep the 35-hour work week promise to each other.

Why I love our 4-day work week (employee testimonial)

I have two kids under the age of 10. Those errands and chores that take twice as long with kids? I get them done while the kids are in school. I used to burn through “leave time” for field trips, but no more. Doctor offices booking everything on a Monday? I simply shift my work week. Husband takes a day off so we can grab lunch and a movie? My work week can accommodate it guilt-free. What if I simply want to sit and read for the morning while sipping coffee? I can do that.

I used to work 5-days a week, 7:30 am–4:00 pm, with a daily two-hour round-trip commute. Any extra chores, requests to chat, or fun activities came with a side dish of overwhelm, fatigue, and guilt if I took time off. Now, I can shift my work days to allow for whatever life is happening that week. Having that extra day to myself makes so much space, I feel like I can breathe again.

—Content manager, 3 months with DDM

Burnout is real

DDM’s hiring mission is to empower the workforce, re-inspire burned-out marketing professionals and set a new standard for remote working. That means we want to work with you to reimagine what our work/life could be. We’ve all experienced toxic workplaces. We want to know your whole story and actively work with you not to replicate that toxicity.

We set this clear intention because burnout is real. According to the American Psychological Association, reports of burnout have increased by 38% since 2019. For DDM founder, Katheryn Myle, burnout looked like 70+ hour weeks for past employers, no overtime pay, and no genuine expressions of gratitude or rewards of monetary praise.

But Katheryn wasn’t ready to call it quits on the marketing industry. She saw how many of her coworkers, who loved the business, felt forced to leave the industry in search of a better work environment. She asked, “If marketing is a rewarding career then how can we remake the marketing work environment to match?”

She created Data Driven Marketers to remake the marketing work environment. Based on data and employee engagement, we’re reimagining work/life. Want to be a part of this conversation? Check out our career center to see how you can join our efforts.

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