The No-Hour Workweek

Staying connected is critical to staying productive in today’s work demands. Connectedness through email, phones, and social media is more frequently required by supervisors and managers. Gone are the days of strict 9 to 5 workdays, free weekends, and a safe distance from your workload when you’re home. The culture of work has shifted.

Jon Stein, CEO of Betterment, an investment banking company, believes in the framework of a No-Hour Workweek. Stein asks his employees one request for the success of the No-Hour Workweek — stay in contact. Team members must be available when a project or problem arises — no matter the day or time. Stein explains in a recent article on the Fast Company website, “The No-Hour Workweek means our team is constantly in contact. Two-thirds of our team takes customer calls on weekends, and our development team frequently works into the wee hours of the morning. We monitor social media, catch up on emails, and work on projects at night and over the weekends, and we’re constantly attending industry and networking events.”

Flexibility is required of the No-Hour Workweek. Stein understands the unavoidable variances in life, and realizes that the traditional roles of the workweek should be dissolved to maximize productivity and happiness. “We have tremendous respect for weekends and personal time. To balance the inevitable overtime, we take away traditional time restrictions,” Stein wrote. That means employees arrive when they want, leave when they want, and work where they want; they are expected to finish their work within their work time frame.

A successful No-Hour Workweek relies on four fundamental concepts as its framework: respect, focus, environment, leisure. Respect your colleagues’ time, focus on the work you have, foster a positive environment in the office, and maintain your leisure time to stay energized.Stein’s No-Hour Workweek addresses the increasing communication demands of work by introducing a flexible and malleable schedule.

If your company adapted this schedule, would you support it?

Read the original Fast Company article here


  1. That’s all well and good except it does nothing to address the amount of work done in a week. Our productivity continues to rise with technology, yet we’re still working the same – if not more – hours. So one dimension of this certainly is the flexibility, the divergence from the strict hours or days, but what about the amount of work done? It’s not much of anything, this arrangement, if you’re still putting in 60 hours a week. A lot of modern accommodations are really just meant to keep you at work or working. As a society, we should be looking towards working less and committing more time to leisure, hobbies as well as arts and ‘casual science’. Show me an employer who not only encourages their employees to work flexibly, but who also expects them to work less without a tremendous reduction in benefits or pay, and then we can talk progress.

    I’ve never seen a business that couldn’t rationalize more work; that is to say, any given task that you might do tomorrow could easily be done today to the benefit of the company if only you put in more hours – yes, sure, at some point it becomes unproductive and you need sleep, but that still happens far beyond what we consider to be the normal 40 hours and at one point, 40 was not the norm. Then we had a paradigm shift. When is the next one?

    1. That’s a great point Doug, but we are focusing on the companies that remain flexible in how -or where- the work is finished. For a hypothetical example, an employee needs to take Tuesday off for an appointment, or a family need. The employee has the opportunity to work a couple extra hours on Monday and Wednesday, or even work Saturday instead. These two options aid not having the flexibility to take Tuesday off at all. Today, companies are becoming more interested in maintaining a work/life balance for their employees. It is not about cutting hours -or working less- it is about having the freedom to work outside of the rigid 9am to 5pm day, Monday through Friday. Flexibility is even more important now because of the increasing amount of work that some employees have taken as responsibilities. I understand that some professions are almost impossible to strike a fair balance, like the medical field. That is why The Good Jobs offers six other categories for companies to excel in.

      1. Fair enough – I work for a company that purports work/life balance, and to a degree I enjoy the certain freedoms you’ve mentioned. Not quite to the extent that I’d like but they’re better than nothing. On the flip side, I’ve had to come in on vacation days, and taking any kind of vacation usually results in a 12-14 hour day prior because, as I said, it’s easy for companies to rationalize more work. I think you said it – “the increasing amount of work that some employees have taken as responsibilities”.

  2. Fred Gruninger · · Reply

    Sounds more like the all hours work week.

    1. You nailed it there Fred. It is like the plans of “use all the PTO you want!” That simply strikes down the differentiation of work time and non-work time– which is the root of the issue, right?

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