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Friday Fun Day: Exos Hopes 4-Day Workweek Will Beat Burnout
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Friday Fun Day: Exos Hopes 4-Day Workweek Will Beat Burnout

People at an Exos program
The coaching company unveiled the Exos Readiness Culture Code, a pilot program which gives employees off on Fridays.

As the workforce evolves and employers and employees try to strike the right work-life balance, one coaching firm has decided to give a four-day workweek a whirl.

Exos, which trains professional athletes and manages corporate wellness programs for 25% of Fortune 100 companies, will begin testing a modified work week starting May 1.

The Exos 4-day workweek pilot will run for six months.

The coaching company says its experiment, ‘Readiness Culture Code,’ serves as a blueprint for reimagining the typical corporate environment and equipping employees with the mental and physical capacity to work effectively. It comes at a time when employee stress is a significant concern.

In a survey of over 1,000 respondents by Deloitte, 77% of respondents revealed they experience burnout at their current job. Even though many U.S.-based corporate professionals (87%) feel a sense of purpose or passion for their careers, they still frequently report feeling stressed or frustrated. Some drivers of employee burnout are lack of support from leadership, unrealistic deadlines or results expectations, and consistently working long hours or on weekends. 

Exos announced the upcoming 4-day workweek pilot program to its 3000+ employees, sharing that it will create a guidebook to introduce the four-day concept to corporate clients — a move that could have long-term implications for other companies.

“We can’t stop all the inevitable stresses and fires that come with day-to-day life. But we can help ensure your mind and body are ready to take them on so you can thrive,” said Exos’ Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Robb O’Hagan. “The future of work is readiness, and we’re distilling what we’ve learned over the past 30 years to make work healthier, more collaborative, and more productive. Businesses must operate differently, and the Exos Readiness Culture Code is a ground-breaking blueprint to help them pave the path forward.”

O’Hagan told CNBC Make It that the new rollout directly responds to the chronic burnout many are experiencing.

The CEO knows a thing or two about stress. As a seasoned executive, having spent time leading Gatorade, reinventing Equinox, and working with Flywheel, O’Hagan has been open about her experience of leading a $5B business through the 2008 financial crisis while being a mother to three young children. She eventually experienced complete burnout while also dealing with postnatal depression. It was a turning point that led her to want to help others and become part of a company that acknowledges burnout while offering better solutions.

Exos is taking a deep dive into its research efforts of the Readiness Culture Code experiment, collaborating with researchers at The Wharton School of Business, organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant, and doctoral candidate Marissa Shandell. The team will assess the impact of the Exos 4-day workweek experiment and how reducing the work week from five to four days affects employee well-being and performance.

“Exos is a trailblazer in exploring how we can sustain our energy—and our excellence,” says Grant. “I hope to see more companies follow their lead in running these kinds of experiments.”

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Exos says its Readiness Culture Code creates a behavioral framework that promotes a pro-recovery culture – a method it’s perfected. The coaching company points to its decades of experience coaching high-performing athletes and businesses, allowing them to perform to their full potential.

As it rolls out the pilot program, Exos team members will receive access to the Fit app, Exos dedicated coaches and gyms, a coach-led virtual program, and workshops. Employees will also enjoy ‘You Do You Fridays,’ where staff can use their time as they wish, with the exception that they can’t message colleagues or arrange meetings on Fridays.

Staff will be encouraged to create recovery norms or boundaries that will ease the pressure many feel to stay connected to the office, even during off-hours.

Exos will also promote ‘calendar chunking,’ where team meetings will be hosted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving Mondays and Wednesdays open for individual work. In addition, there will be opportunities for community outreach through Exos’ Coach for Good social impact program and partner parks from Vuori and Hyperice.

The coaching company anticipates that it will continue the four-day workweek barring extreme negative results, O’Hagan told CNBC.

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