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A Four Day Work Week - Reuters - Dec 2018

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#1
Companies around the world have cut their work week down to just four days and found that it leads to higher productivity, more motivated staff and less burnout. Reuters highlights some of those companies:
Reuters said:
"It is much healthier and we do a better job if we're not working crazy hours," said Jan Schulz-Hofen, founder of Berlin-based project management software company Planio, who introduced a four-day week to the company's 10-member staff earlier this year. In New Zealand, trust company Perpetual Guardian reported a fall in stress and a jump in staff engagement after it tested a 32-hour week earlier this year. Lucie Greene, trends expert at consultancy J. Walter Thompson, said there was a growing backlash against overwork, underlined by a wave of criticism after Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted that "nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week. People are starting to take a step back from the 24-hour digital life we have now and realize the mental health issues from being constantly connected to work," Greene said.

Schulz-Hofen, a 36-year-old software engineer, tested the four-day week on himself after realizing he needed to slow down following a decade of intense work launching Planio, whose tools allowed him to track his time in detail. "I didn't get less work done in four days than in five because in five days, you think you have more time, you take longer, you allow yourself to have more interruptions, you have your coffee a bit longer or chat with colleagues," Schulz-Hofen said. "I realized with four days, I have to be quick, I have to be focused if I want to have my free Friday." Schulz-Hofen and his team discussed various options before settling on everybody working Monday to Thursday. They rejected the idea of flexible hours because it adds administrative complexity, and were against a five-day week with shorter hours as it is too easy for overwork to creep back in.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
I see many complications with us choosing to work shorter weeks.

My solicitor works Monday thru Wednesday. But I my last two needs had me wanting to call her on a Friday and a Thursday. So, I’m now updating my criteria to select a new solicitor.

My point here is that our shorter workweeks as SMEs would have to fit with the workweeks of our customers.

My daughter is a mother to three youngsters and she works for the NHS as a junior doctor for three days a week. Consequently, instead of qualifying in six years it is taking her ten years to become a fully qualified doctor.

Short periods of working shorter weeks tend to increase productivity but long periods of working six day weeks tend to reduce productivity.

So the trials to validate the viability of working shorter weeks may be giving us a false impression.

France quietly scrapped its shorter working week and here’s the latest on Sweden’s Sweden tries to force 30 hour working week but scraps it after it turns into a DISASTER
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#4
My solicitor works Monday thru Wednesday. But I my last two needs had me wanting to call her on a Friday and a Thursday. So, I’m now updating my criteria to select a new solicitor.
My old dentist worked 4 days a week but I could always get him 24/7/365 and if it was a serious issue he'd open his office to see me (which actually happened a few times at night when an old filling fell out and I was in a lot of pain). The same with my old lawyer. Dentist is retired, lawyer died a few years ago.

Some of this is relative. Many small farmers are up at dawn and work until dusk. When I was doing consulting I typically did 2 weeks on (usually out of town) and then a week at home typically with a very light work load to 'decompress'. Oil rig workers at sea have a x weeks on, y weeks off. In short, there are many different 'schedules' for different types of workers.

I have seen this come up over the last 10 years or so. Sometimes it's a 35 hours over 4 days scenario. I knew a fellow who worked on the Alaska pipeline in the early days - 12 hours on, 12 hours off, for 2 months - Then a week off. Then back for 2 months of 12/12.

For quite a few years I worked my tail end off, often 6 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day. On the other hand I didn't take vacations and lived relatively frugally. I sunk my money into a retirement trust and technically retired back around 2004 with no debts, house paid off. It seriously changed my life for the better.

I just posted the link because while I know it does come up now and again, it's interesting. And think historically - Dusk to dawn was typical for the the 'average' person including children. And in today's world, how many people work 2, or even 3 jobs just to get by. And when I think of conditions for many Foxconn workers I think of suicide myself...

And as much as I would like to say people have choices, not that many actually do have choices.

The Reuters story I linked to was an exception (software coders), published as a fluff piece.
 

CCaantley

Involved In Discussions
#5
My company is on 4 days 10 hours. Sometimes a Friday if extra production is needed. For the most part, everyone likes it :)
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Trusted
#6
I've probably worked as many 50-60 hour weeks in the last 30 years as I have 40 hour weeks.

A buddy started at a company with 4 nines and a half-day on Fridays. He loves it.
 

mattador78

Involved In Discussions
#7
Up until September last year I did any combination of days noons nights with no shift pattern it could have been anyone of the three any week, for a minimum of 40 hours a week plus usually an extra day overtime unless it was a Friday on noons then it was pull a double shift. Going to permanent days 7-4 has been like winning the lottery lol
 
#8
...I just posted the link because while I know it does come up now and again, it's interesting. And think historically - Dusk to dawn was typical for the the 'average' person including children. And in today's world, how many people work 2, or even 3 jobs just to get by....
On the other end are those who are driven to work if given the choice.

When I worked construction, I'd often encounter temp-workers who had other jobs, but were filling their spare time with temp-work. When asked why they don't take time off, they'd reply something along the line of "what else would I do with my time, watch tv? may as well be productive."

Some people definitely find meaning, purpose, and even identity in working - even if it's menial tasks. Not sure what portion of people fall into this category, but it seems to be personality-related, or an inculcated ethic. Insofar as it is a learned ethic, is it a good thing? Seems like the prevalent ethic these days is the opposite: "work only as much as is necessary - the less the better". Don't know if this is good or bad trend, but interesting discussion.
 
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