4 Day Week Case Study: The Wanderlust Group

During the pandemic many companies experimented with new modes of work (e.g. remote, hybrid etc) in a quickly changing environment. Of these companies, The Wanderlust Group decided to run their own experiment: a shorter work week. In 2020 they decided to make the switch to a 4 day work week, giving every employee an extra day off, without any reduction in pay.

The Wanderlust Group employs 70+ staff working across 3 different companies:

  • Dockwa: A marina reservation app
  • Marinas: The largest directory of Marinas and Yacht clubs
  • Campouts: A campground reservation app
Wanderlust team

But why did they decide to make the switch and how has it effected their KPIs? We caught up with Meghan Keaney Anderson (CMO @ Wanderlust) to find out more.

Making the switch to a 4 day week

Working week: Firstly, there are actually many different ways to implement a 4 day work week. For example, a company could decide to:

  • Take the same day off each week
  • Work 5 shorter days
  • Work 2 half days
  • To have having a rotating schedule

The Wanderlust Group decided to adopted for the first option by giving employees every Monday off — but why Mondays?

We chose Mondays as the day we take off because we work with marinas and campgrounds and Fridays are busy days for them. But we’ve since really loved how Monday off sets up our week for success. Having an extra day off heading into the week gives you a day of mental space between the weekend and your workweek to clear your head. We believe we work smarter as a result.

Compensation: When it came to salary, Wanderlust made the decision to not reduce salaries when switching to a shorter working week. After all, research has shown that productivity increases with a 4 day work week — meaning output is similar to that of a traditional 5 day week.

Customer support: A common concern of the 4 day work week is how companies support customers on the fifth day of the week — after all, most of the world still works a 5 day week. Wanderlust took the simple approach of adopting a rotating schedule i.e. some customer support staff are off on Mondays, while others take Fridays off.

Operational changes: When making a switch to a shorter working week, it’s common for companies to reconsider their entire working processes and culture. The Wanderlust Group were no exception:

When we first shifted to the 4 day work week we took a hard look at the meetings that had begun to crowd our calendars. We cut about a third of standing meetings and now are very disciplined about canceling any meeting that doesn’t have a strong agenda. We also leverage tools like Slack and Atlassian to keep communication flowing and culture alive.

Due to their experiment, TWG have become more intentional about how they spend their time, resulting in a leaner & more efficient company.

4 Day Week Trial Results

Despite initially implementing the 4 day week as a temporary measure during the pandemic, in 2021 the company announced that they were making the change permanent, citing impressive results.

Revenue: Despite working shorter hours, revenue almost doubled with the number of nights booked on the platform increasing by 120%.

  • Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): 99% growth YoY
  • Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) (YTD): 90% growth YoY
  • Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) (TTM): 60% growth YoY
  • Nights booked through our marketplace (YTD): 120% growth YoY

Customer Satisfaction: Further analysis of their Net Promoter Scores showed that customers were also very happy with the product i.e. they were very likely to recommend it to a friend:

We achieved a NPS score of 75 based on 60k+ responses, which is higher than benchmarks across most industries

Based on a 2018 survey of NPS across various industries, we can see that a score is 75 is indeed exceptionally high.

Average NPS by industry

Staff Retention: It is well known that a 4 day week makes it easier to attract talent but one under appreciated benefit is that it significantly helps companies retain talent.

Many employees who have made the switch to a 4 day work week often comment on how they could “never go back”. The Wanderlust Group experienced a similar effect as Meghan said that their “employee retention is far above average for our industry”.

Summary: Overall, the results of their 4 day work week experiment have been very positive with revenue, customer satisfaction and staff retention all increasing. Perhaps the most telling sign however, is the fact that they have now made the change permanent.

A Day in the Life @ The Wanderlust Group

We caught up with Meghan to find out what it’s like working at The Wanderlust Group

What are the values your TWG lives by?

“We’re an outdoor technology company. We’ve always believed in the value of spending time outside in nature.

Research shows that 20 minutes a day outside, just three days a week significantly reduces cortisol levels and improves mental and physical health. Spending time in nature is also linked to a greater sense of responsibility for the environment and greater commitment to protecting it. We figure the best way for us to better the world is to get people out in it.”

What do people tend to do on their extra day off?

“Our team uses the time back to do a variety of things: One teaches youth sailing at a nonprofit, another used the time back to get his pilot’s license last year, still others just use the time to take long walks with their dogs or run errands so they can actually spend their weekends with their families undistracted. We are continuously motivated by all the stories we hear on Tuesdays about how our team spent the time back.”

What are the top 5 tools your company couldn’t live without?

“In addition to working 4-days a week we’re also a distributed team. We have team members all across the United States. For collaboration we use Slack, Atlassian’s wiki software (Confluence), Zoom, Google Drive and Trello.

Slack doesn’t get enough credit in my mind for creating a place where team connection and culture can grow when you can’t physically get together. We have Slack channels dedicated to The great outdoors, our pets, parenting, and more.

We also use the scheduling tools in Gmail and Slack to avoid sending notifications during off-hours. Atlassian’s Confluence and Trello have been the central places we keep information that we all need to know.”

And finally, do you think the 4 day work week will increase in popularity?

“The momentum we’ve seen with the 4 day work week has really been remarkable. When we switched over in 2020, we didn’t know many companies that had done so. Since then, every month it feels like we’re meeting or learning about another company that has moved to a shortened week.

The most exciting thing about that has been the diversity in types and sizes of companies doing it: small start-ups, large agencies, tech companies, manufacturing companies. We’ve also seen the conversation around this movement grow, media is starting to cover it and great organizations like the 4 day week global program and 4dayweek.io are really giving structure to something that was really disconnected before.

I am optimistic this is going to continue to spread and grateful for those who are advancing it.”

This article was original posted on 4 day week — remote jobs with a better work life balance 🎉

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