The 4 Day Work Week

Just recently I’ve dropped down to working 4 days. I’m fortunate enough to be still working Monday to Friday, but having the Wednesdays off. This means only two consecutive days at any one time. I have to say, the positive effects in terms of mind and well-being have been quite drastic. And all this from dropping one day!

It got me to thinking about the 8 hour workday, and the 40 hour week. These milestones were won against tremendous odds, and we have all been the beneficiaries. It has allowed the ordinary person time for their hobbies, time to know their partners and children, time to relax, time to be human beings. It has been one of the greatest of social advances.

But short of France pushing for the 35 hour workweek, is this where we stop? The productivity gains (more and more output per person) have been accumulating for half a century now, surely there will be no material loss if full time work became only 4 days.

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One Response to “The 4 Day Work Week”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    Good for you!

    I keep hearing that in Britain we work longer hours than anywhere else in Europe. For the last 13 years or so I worked only half time. The result is that I enjoyed my job and used to sing at work to the sombre amusement of my full-time colleagues.

    Before that, while still in teaching, I reduced my commitment from full-time to 75%. You might not believe the difference it made. The polytechnic required us to work “to exigencies” which meant they could call on us at any time if we were needed. In other words, they thought they owned us. But now I had a day off each week when they couldn’t touch me. I suddenly owned myself again. The psychological boost was huge. They once prevailed on me to come in on my day off for an important day-long meeting. I refused until they agreed to pay me. (I put in a good performance too.)

    The long working hours we put up with in the UK lead to a tired and jaded workforce. Employees become tetchy, less resilient and less efficient. I doubt whether much productive work is done on a Friday afternoon. In fact, in the City of London everyone seems to go home at Friday lunchtime leaving the financial sector empty. They are the sensible ones.

    Bringing up a family, paying the mortgage, taking those luxury holidays abroad all require serious funding but do you really need them? Which is more important: dying rich or living a frugal but relaxed and happy life? I’ve made my choice and I wouldn’t change it.

    EmailSilverTiger

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