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Why We Switched to A Four-Day Workweek

Nov 3, 2021 | Business

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in building a multi-billion company is that it’s all about the people. Following that core principle, I’m thrilled that Bolt has become the first tech unicorn to officially shift to a 4-day workweek, and I wanted to share why we did and how we came to the decision.

Naval Ravikant, the CEO of AngelList, likes to say: Work like a lion, not a cow. Cows graze all day, moving slowly at the same activity, day in and day out. That’s how most jobs are set up. What if we worked like lions instead? That would mean working in short, high-energy, high-intensity bursts, then resting and recovering for the next sprint. This approach focuses on outcomes, rather than how much time was put in, and at Bolt, we fundamentally believe that we can get MORE work done at a HIGHER quality by working four days a week.

These are the 5 main principles that guided our decision:

Principle #1: Increased Balance Leads to Increased Output

The biggest problem with remote work isn’t that people work too little—it’s that they work way too much. We flipped the script on that, because we know having a healthy team is essential to maintaining a healthy organization.

Principle #2: Clear Minds Lead to Better Decisions

A company is nothing more than a sum of its parts, and the bigger you get, the more parts you have—and the more important it is to take care of them. Think about a puzzle with 1,000 pieces. If each piece had a tiny chip, this wouldn’t seem like a big deal individually, but when you put the whole thing together, it’ll look like a disaster. Each teammate has to be taken care of so they can play their part in the larger mission.

Principle #3: Increase the Intensity

Just like a clear mind leads to better decisions, so does a focused mind. With a 4-day workweek, we can feel confident going ALL IN on those four days, and it’s so energizing to work together when everyone is all-in. Bolt used to have an annual Bolt Lightning Week, our highest-functioning week of the year. We asked: what if we made every week Lightning Week? The team got chills thinking about what we could accomplish.

Principle #4: Tired Kills Creativity

Think about what happens when you’re tired. Most people say that your standards go down. That’s true, but I think something even more dangerous happens: you look for the path of least resistance. Creativity is a linchpin of what has allowed us to grow 10x in 10 months. It’s an internal force multiplier. The 4-day workweek allows us to keep that coefficient high.

Principle #5: Interesting People Make a Stronger Team

A 5-day work week barely gives people enough time to take care of the necessities in life. An extra day gives our team more time for their interests, and these experiences and perspectives will flow through the collective Bolt heartbeat.

I believe a 4-day workweek isn’t an “if” for most companies, it’s a “when.” In true Bolt spirit, we didn’t wait around to follow others. I’m honored to lead the company this way and can’t wait to share the results along the way.

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