This article originally appeared in Forbes.
It started with my kids’ preschool schedule.
In March of 2010 this tiny idea we had of building a directory for healthcare was starting to grow some legs. We had a name, our alpha app was built, and we secured our Series A funding. Which meant it was time to find an office. It was all very exciting but, admittedly, I was struggling to reconcile the demands of our start-up with the demands of motherhood.
At the time, I taught at my kids’ preschool one morning a week and being a part of their early education meant the world to me. But it didn’t work well with my work hours or the fact that the new office was over an hour and half from my home. That’s when we decided to have the entire team work from home on Wednesdays.
Decisions made when a company is 5 people strong do not typically scale to 250 people. But working from home one day a week has both helped this mom (and now many moms and dads at our company) strike a better work-life balance and has become integral to Doximity’s success.
At Doximity, Wednesday has become the GSD/GLD Day. On one hand, after two days in the office, often overwhelmed with meetings, the to-do list has likely grown rather than shrunk. Wednesdays are collectively our Get Sh*t Done (GSD) day. It’s the day we tackle tough problems with fewer distractions. For me, that means sitting at my dining room table with printouts of product specs and a red pen. Wednesday also is a Get Life Done (GLD) Day when we schedule teeth cleaning and take the car to the mechanic. For many of us, it’s a day in which we reclaim upwards of three hours of commuting time that can be used way more productively than singing along to the radio in traffic.
Beyond the personal benefits, WFH Wednesday makes the team collectively more productive. There’s a creative energy in face-to-face collaboration that’s difficult to replicate. Some of our best ideas have come from side conversations people jump into walking by another’s desk. After a mid-week break from the commute, people return to the office refreshed an energized. In addition, designating this one day to get life done cuts down on absenteeism on other days, which means we have a full team present all the time.
To make this work, there are two things that are critical. First, the policy has to apply to everyone - the uniformity of WFH Wednesday is an important piece of its success. It helps everyone with their work-life balance, regardless of their family situation.
Second, we are rigorous in measuring productivity and in holding people accountable for it. We group our employees into small teams, and each team is accountable for quarterly goals. These are designed to be hard, and we hit our goals or miss them as a team. This means that it’s nearly impossible to shirk from your responsibilities because the rest of a fairly small team is leaning on you to do your piece.
Flexibility plus accountability is the key to making WFH Wednesday work. While the pros and cons of the policy were not heavily debated in 2010, the decision to keep them has been very purposeful and we have happier, more productive Doxers because of it. Personally, my days of volunteering at my kids’ preschool are well behind me. But once a month I take a break from work on Wednesday and serve hot lunch at my daughter’s middle school. The experience is priceless.