Why We Asked Our Employees to Work Less

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This past summer, we asked our staff to start their weekend early. Every Friday at 1pm from Memorial Day until Labor day, employees were encouraged “to spend time with friends, go on a hike, get on the road to beat traffic, and of course, enjoy the sunshine (and the journey)” wrote President Kris Rohman in the initial announcement.

In the Bay Area, known for demanding work hours, this is just one of the many steps the Linus team has been taking toward living out our core values. In this case, Value #5: Enjoy The Journey, which means relishing not only what we do, but how we do it. And while Summer Fridays certainly helped us achieve that goal, the initiative also provided an interesting opportunity to live out the latest research on how to create a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.

As a company that caters to scientists and clinicians, when data tells a story, we listen. For example, when growing research warned of the many ills that can come from sitting all day, we brought in electric standing desks, gave our employees FitBits, and encouraged walking meetings. So when our own data told us that, after launching Summer Fridays, staff satisfaction ratings grew by 8% and employee turnover went down, we listened to that too.

What’s more, productivity didn’t suffer—an interesting case of research in action. Studies suggest that strategic downtime and unplugging during time off (both encouraged at Linus) can actually foster creative and efficient work. “When you incentivize productivity and efficiency over busyness, you don’t just get better work-life balance, you get better work,” Rohman said.

But how do you know your employees will use their time more wisely when given less of it?

For Alina Campos, Director of HR & Development, “It all comes down to building a culture of trust.” To do that, Linus selects employees based on core values that emphasize emotional IQ, positive attitude, and self-motivation—and then actively encourages employee growth in those areas. “If you can build that culture of trust, then there are a lot of perks, like Summer Fridays, that you can enjoy together,” Campos said.