Working a four-day week may seem like a dream, but it can be an intense experience and may not be for everyone, experts said during a panel conversation at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, last week.
Qwick, an on-demand hiring platform for hospitality workers, saw job applications jump by 220% after it moved to a shortened week in 2022, says Retta Kekic, the company's chief marketing officer.
But not everyone may be well suited for a four-day week if they're not used to it: "The importance of your hires becomes even greater when you do this because they have to be contributing at that pace within the four days," she says. "And it's not for everyone, putting it frankly, to be able to work with that intensity every single day."
Here, leaders share the top three skills you need to get hired at a four-day week company:
Given the difference, Kekic says one of the biggest traits she looks for in a new hire is a strong sense of initiative.
"We don't have the time to get approval for three or four layers before you start something," she says, "and so we need people who are confident and have the ability to take initiative on things that they know are going to move the company forward."
Lindsay Liu, co-founder and CEO of the software startup Super, adds that autonomy is a key trait of successful hires in a four-day week company. "It is the type of pace and style of work where you have to be more responsible for your output," she says.
Strong hires are "very self-directed with their time and are able to plot out their own projects, think about how to do that, and then figure out when they need collaboration, when they need input, and to be able to pull in the rest of the team for that," Liu adds.
New hires should also be adaptable, especially if they're joining a company newly transitioning to a shortened workweek and still working through "a lot of moving parts," said Phil McParlane, founder of 4dayweek.io, a job board for roles offering a shortened workweek.
Those challenges usually "heal over time" as companies "get into the swing of the new processes," he says. But that could mean going through the trial and error of learning how to cut down on meetings, or figuring out a rotating schedule if the company needs to work with customers five days a week.
Experts agree that workers of all experience levels, from interns to senior leaders, can excel at the skills needed to work at a four-day week company. For example, four-day week companies oftentimes have rigorous ways of documenting goals, progress, processes and resources, which can help early-career professionals learn on the job.
Liu notes that Super just completed its first internship cycle, and "having a really clear set of structure and expectations is very good for people that are just getting started, because they understand exactly what it is that they're on the hook for. There's no gray areas there. And I think that's actually something that is a great benefit for somebody just starting to get into a career."
DON'T MISS: Want to be smarter and more successful with your money, work & life? Sign up for our new newsletter!