I recently read an article on LinkedIn about companies that are currently adopting a four-day work week and their reasons for doing so. Even though it’s the schedule I currently keep, it seems far from the current norm. If you add in time spent working from home, I have friends that work well beyond their five day a week/40 hour time commitment. I feel the latter seems to be more representative of the workforce today.
When I started in my career in finance, I was expected to work Monday-Saturday, only having Sundays off and we averaged 50-60 hour work weeks. Many saw this as “paying our dues,” but to me it was a recipe for wasting time & learning how to look productive, rather than truly be productive. Plus it was kind of like hazing….
I’ve been working four day work weeks for the last couple of years. I wanted to be able to spend more time with my new baby and took a pay cut to make it happen. Research has shown that others would be willing to do the same. I never want to go back! I love having Fridays “off” (really do you have any days off after having kids?) and a 3 day weekend every week. Fridays typically we’ll run errands/get things done, so that we can actually have a weekend when it comes to Saturday & Sunday. We also go out of town for the weekend quite a bit, which makes being able to leave after work on Thursdays an awesome perk!
“Corporate America no longer aligns with the way U.S. families conduct their daily lives,” according to one source. This makes a lot of sense, with how busy the typical American is and the fact that both spouses usually work. Most people I know wish there were just a few more hours in a day to get things done. Did you know that 44% of women doctors already work 4 or less days per week (source)? Both my OB & our pediatrician do this currently. And really, why shouldn’t they? They both have young families, not to mention are on call and work weekends.
One cited proponent of the change is that you get more done if you have a limited amount of time available. You focus on what’s important knowing you have less time to get things completed. I would agree. If you’ve done any reading on the 80/20 principle, then you know that:
- 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers
- 80% of a company’s complaints come from 20% of its customers
- 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of the time its staff spend
- 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its products
- 80% of a company’s sales are made by 20% of its sales staff
Phrased another way, 20% of your time at work, results in 80% of your productivity.
It’s encouraging that more companies are trying to be flexible and provide options besides the normal 9-5, Monday-Friday work week. I’ve read that it’s even become a recruiting tool; it seems that with unemployment on the decline, it’s switching from an employer’s job market to that of an employee’s again.
If you’ve never thought that working a four day work week was possible, I challenge you to question why? Could you do your job in less time? Would your employer be open to 4-10 hour days or 4-9 hour days & every other Friday off? Would you be willing to take a pay cut to work less and spend more time with your family or doing something you’re passionate about? Time, not money is your most precious commodity.