A little over a year ago, Tower Paddle Boards started letting employees leave by lunchtime and offering 5% profit-sharing.

[Photo: Flickr user Hairi]

Stephan Aarstol 08.30.16 5:00 AM

In every office, I’ve often felt, there are just a few people who do three times the work of everyone else, yet their reward is only marginally higher. As an entrepreneur, I’ve been managing my own productivity time—not on-the-clock-time—pretty effectively for over 15 years, and I’ve largely been able to work fewer hours than my friends in the corporate world. So when I started Tower, my company that sells stand-up paddle boards, I figured (or at least hoped) that I could hire just these types and give them a better deal in the process.

So while we operated on a standard eight-hour workday at first, just like most other companies, I wanted to put my theory to the test. And it also seemed like freeing up employees’ afternoons for the outdoor lifestyle the company promoted would be a natural fit. So on June 1, 2015, I initiated a three-month test. I moved my whole company to a five-hour workday where everyone works from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Over a year later, we’re sticking with it. Here’s why, and how we made the change work.

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