Leadership

Why one CEO shortened his company workday to 6 hours

In May 2015, founder and CEO of Acuity Scheduling Gavin Zuchlinski decided to offer his employees six-hour workdays during the summer months, while still offering full pay and benefits.

"I wanted to let everyone enjoy the summer, but it just worked out well enough that we kept it throughout the year," Zuchlinski tells CNBC. "We've been doing this for nearly two years now and we have the same productivity that we had during the eight-hour days."

The online scheduling company, which Zuchlinski built from scratch a decade ago, places an emphasis on customer service.

In fact, "the biggest role in our company is customer support, which can be emotionally draining," the CEO says. "We're not just trying to grind people out for hours. You need to be able to have your time off to really be fresh, show your personality, and actually be a human while offering customer support."

Gavin Zuchlinski, founder and CEO of Acuity Scheduling
Courtesy of Gavin Zuchlinski
Gavin Zuchlinski, founder and CEO of Acuity Scheduling

Acuity employees typically work for three hours in the morning, take a couple of hours off during the middle of the day, and are on for another three hours in the afternoon.

What's more, each of the company's 15 employees works remotely, meaning they don't have to deal with a commute.

Employees are scattered all over the globe from New York, where Acuity is headquartered, to Greece and Scotland. The geographic diversity works to the company's advantage, Zuchlinski explains: "Having everyone in different time zones means people can work roughly normal hours. Nobody is working crazy night shifts but we're still able to provide about 15 hours of customer support throughout the day."

The CEO doesn't advertise Acuity's 30-hour workweek in job postings. "It's just a nice surprise after you're hopefully attracted to Acuity through everything else we offer here," he says.

Acuity employees
Courtesy of Gavin Zuchlinski
Acuity employees

Zuchlinski isn't the only one experimenting with a shortened schedule. Amazon is piloting a 30-hour workweek, and an online search optimization company based in Sweden, Brath, operates on a six-hour workday schedule.

And then there's the San Diego-based start-up where employees work from just 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., without a lunch break, for a total of 25 hours a week.

"It's OK to give that time back to employees," Zuchlinski says. "Ultimately, it will make them happier and more productive and if you're happy and enjoy your life, you're probably going to share that with all of our customers."