Something not everyone knows about me is that I have been working a 4 day work week for over 18 months now. When changing jobs, I considered offers and I decided that something that could make a difference to me when considering a job or employer over others would be one that can offer me more time.
Before switching to a 4 day work week, I was burning the candle at both ends. I would work more than 40 hours a week and then spend many more hours preparing sessions for speaking at events, working on my podcast every week, blogging etc. Working a 4 day work week, let me get back to pursuing things that brought me a sense of fulfilment that I believe also make me a better employee. Initially, when working 4 days a week, I increased the number of blogs I was posting, I built out a new home lab, I spoke at multiple events and importantly, I started to go on hikes and enjoy the outdoors a bit more.
Has it worked out completely the way I expected? No. I thought I would have a lot more free time, but what has ended up happening is those every day life things that pop up for everyone such as doctor appointments, dentist appointments, appointments for my kids, training, exams etc. all got scheduled for my extra day off. And in the cases when I can’t get an appointment on my day off, I sometimes just change my day off for that week so I don’t have to miss any work. In that sense, me working 4 days a week also benefits my employer as they aren’t paying me for time missed due to these types of life events.
Working 4 days a week has also helped when juggling family life and work life for my wife and I. I picked Friday as my extra day off, which is her businesses busiest day of the week. We don’t have to pay for childcare on Fridays and we don’t have to pay for it on her least busy day of the week either. So we pay for 3 days of childcare a week. This is great because we get more time with the kids too.
You might be asking about lost productivity by not working that 5th day. In the past I have contracted a few days a week to different clients. I honestly found that even if I only contracted 2 or 3 days a week, I could be just as productive as a 5 day work week. It just requires focus and fewer time wasting meetings. There were times when working 2 days for a client that it came back to bite me. I had something time sensitive to complete so ended up working two 14+ hour days just to get the work completed on schedule but regardless of that, the work got done. I haven’t had that happen since switching to a 4 day work week. There may be times, I put in a couple of hours work on a Friday to keep ahead of something but I only do that when it is something I want to do.
I feel like a four day work week could be a positive for not only employees but also employers. There has been speculation for years that the world may require to move to a three or four day work week as automation ramps up leading to far fewer full-time positions being available. While that is certainly a possibility, it is hard to know when that day will be. Regardless, if governments could incentivize organizations to implement a four day work week, he could certainly become a fixture for many. It could even transform how some companies operate. Maybe they only operate five days a week today, but in the future they could switch to 6 or seven days a week, have staff on a four day work week with one or two days a week of all staff working together to have some overlap and simply flex the weekend work and days off.Featured Image by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash