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From Maternity Leave to 4-Day Work Week (Behind the Scenes)



Nasrin got to do all of this not because of a holiday or PTO, but because of IWT’s new summer-long 4-Day Workweek Challenge. This test is an experiment to see if having a compressed workweek is all that it’s cracked up to be… 

…or if it’s WAY more trouble than it’s worth. 

“The honeymoon is over”

So far, the team is more than a month into the challenge. 

But that’s not the case with Nasrin.

In fact, she’s been away for the past 3 months on maternity leave following the birth of her son. So when she came back to IWT, she had to adjust to a completely new schedule — and system of working.  

“It was weird because I was trying to figure out what projects we were working on,” Nasrin says of her first week back. “Coming back from 3 months off is weird in general, because for the first few days you’re just catching up.”

Even though she knew that she was going to get the 4-day workweek, she still struggled to adjust to:

  • Returning to work after maternity leave. Studies have shown that the first two years are crucial to a baby’s bond with their parents and their development of long-term mental health. That makes those hours that you can spend with your infant that much more precious. 
  • Coming back to a wildly different schedule. New routines and habits can take more than a month to develop in the best of circumstances. In Nasrin’s position, though, she needed to be able to adjust — and quickly. 

These two things would be difficult on their own, but are downright herculean when taken together. 

“It was a bit of a struggle,” Nasrin explains, adding that even though she knows she’s privileged to work full time from home and loves working at IWT, she still had a tough time adjusting.  “Maternity leave was so nice because the four of us just got to spend a lot of quality time together. And then all of a sudden I’m in a different room all day. It’s like the honeymoon period is over.”

Adjusting systems to the 4-day work week

Nasrin works at IWT though. That means that one, she’s ambitious, determined, and resourceful, and two, her co-workers are too. 

That’s why she was able to rely on a few tried-and-proven systems in order to make that first week as easy as it could be.

1. Plan ahead

First, she planned ahead. That meant looking at both her whole week’s work and next week’s work to make sure that she knew what to expect. 

This is important — especially as a project manager working for a company doing a 4DWW. 

Remember: Everyone has the choice of taking either Monday or Friday off for the entire summer. This means not everyone’s schedule is aligned, which makes Nasrin’s job a whole lot 


“All my deadlines for Friday are essentially on Thursday,” Nasrin says. “And since I’m the project manager, I have to adjust that for everyone.”

It became a kind of puzzle where she had to fit all of everyone’s pieces together in order to create the whole picture. 


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