Money

32 is the new 40! What happened when this company adopted a 32-hour workweek

One Saturday night on the couch, Ryan Carson's wife finally questioned the workload they'd created for themselves after starting a successful company together.

"What is this?" she asked her husband, the CEO of Treehouse, an online school for adults based in Portland, Oregon.

Carson had been constantly working in overdrive because that's what he thought it took to be successful. But then it hit him.

“There’s no rule that you have to work 40 hours, you have to work more to be successful,” he said, in a video for The Atlantic.

So, Carson put an end to the standard 40-hour schedule and tried something different, for both himself and his family: the 32-hour workweek.

"Every moment that I have with my kids I realize is something that I can't — I can never buy back," he said. "No matter how much money I make or how powerful I get, I can't buy time."

So far, his method has been successful. Carson says the decrease in time spent in the office has actually led to an increase in levels of productivity: “We’ve proven that you can take it from an experiment into something that’s doable for real companies and real people in highly competitive markets.”

And all of Treehouse's employees are on board with the schedule, especially CFO Michael Watson.

"I think that when people aren't overworked, the chance for that light bulb or epiphany moment or whatever you want to call it is increased," Watson said.

In the end, Carson says it's more about living in a period of history where it's possible to work less.

“It’s not about more family time, or more play time, or less work time — it’s about living a more balanced total life."

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