CEO Secrets: 'Four-day weeks are good for business'
By - tsuzuku_ryudo
The company in the article do nine-and-a-half-hour days so basically doing the same hours as I do in a 5 day week, so you'd hope to get paid the same.
Yeah, that's not what a four day work week is all about
I think for some people it is? For some businesses the productivity increase of condensing hours is not going to be the same. I'd much prefer 4x 10 hour days to my current 5x 8 hour days. Could do all sorts with constant three day weekends.
The whole point is to reduce the time at work, stress and have a better work/life balance. Four 10 hour days will push people to fatigue pretty quickly in a lot of places. Active jobs are better, but we already have a lot of injuries and conditions from people sitting down and not moving for too long at a time.
A higher up at my work place openly said to the whole company that keeping 5 days would be better for mental health as it gives people more structure.
This is so stupid it makes me despair.
It makes sense. People who thrive in the current culture end up being promoted and don't see a problem with the current culture.
Just like when MPs are elected by a broken system they don't see it as broken because they believe they are the best person. The system got it right, so why change.
Maybe I’m the problem lol! But in all seriousness thanks, hadn’t thought of it like this.
I mean some people do like that sense of routine, and are opposed to change, so it makes sense that would be better. Equally longer days are exhausting. Imagine reaching 5pm on a long day and knowing you still had two hours to go, it would suck.
A four day week should be less hours than a five day week. 4x10 is no better than 5x8 in hours.
I work longer days as we can finish at 12 on Fridays, it’s probably the best perk of my job currently. Now I only need to work 30mins/1 hour extra per day to achieve this but I frequently take “flexi” days to have Friday off entirely. Yeah the days are long but I cannot stress enough how much more I enjoy my weekends when I have 3 days in a row, I would absolutely take 4 day work weeks with regular hours full time if given the option.
I’m not on my own in this, many of my colleagues do the same. And personally I feel like 3 day weekends are great for my mental health, even if I have to work the hours to have them
Just putting my opinion out there as a lot of people really don’t seem to like this idea
4x10 should be readily available now, it's not something to strive for for sure.
The more productivity increases, the more free time people should have. Productivity has been going up for decades, but work hours have stayed the same, and wealth inequality has increased. 30 hour workweek is not a big ask.
How disgustingly fucking patronising.
I just can't see that for all sectors a reduction in hours would be accounted for by the productivity increase. Not saying I don't think that's a good idea, but it's a different picture to how some people paint a 4-day working week which is told as the same output in 4 days not 5.
It's not an all sectors thing. It's very much a non-public facing office workers thing.
Other sectors need to find other ways to reduce stress. Some things like call centres might end up with better and faster resolutions with people working less hours, but also they need to cover certain hours. There would need to be shift pattern changes.
Hospitality is another issue entirely.
Hourly work or contractors on day rates are usually forgotten in this situation, but the living wage campaigns work hard to increase the hourly rates to help this.
maybe theres no one absolute answer as jobs a re so different. 4x210 hors days might be great for some people not so great for others.
Aye, I've moved to doing 4 day weeks in my PhD, but because it's my PhD and I have a personal stake in its success I'm now working 4 longer days than before. It is a bit knackering.
You'd be an example of survivor bias then. There's probably a lot of amazing people that had to drop out of the industry for all sorts of reasons. Just imagine all the awesome ideas (creative and practical) that were missed because of that.
Fwiw, no one is saying you can only work 4 days, just that anything over 4 days would be overtime that you can reasonably say no to without repercussions, like when someone asks you to work a weekend now.
Yeah I wasn't trying to detract from your statement. I'm even working Saturday this week haha. It's brutal but it pays too well to drop it for standard hours of work. Wife doesn't work so I make up the slack 😅.
That sounds great then, and clearly you're doing well with it so I'm happy for you
But how about 4 x 8 hours days?
I'd be getting paid less, that's my point. For some, like me, a 4 day week of 10 hours per day is preferable. I'd love to believe that I'd get paid the same doing 4 8 hour days but realistically that isn't going to happen.
If you were as productive doing less hours then why not? It may not be possible for all jobs but that's the theory.
Agree, this is one of these "don't let perfect be the enemy of good" scenarios.
Clearly the ideal is an actual reduction in contracted hours for no reduction in pay but what the suggested set up effectively looks like is 8 - 6 with 30 mins lunch 4 days a week with a 3 day weekend. Given a lot of people, like me, already work flexibly and frequently work longer hours some days only to find yourself "keeping the green light burning" for the sake of appearances on others. All this seems to do is give you *permission* to have that day in the week where you do fuck all without having to keep up the ridiculous pretence that you're hard at it all the time.
I'd probably even do the odd couple of hours on a Friday here and there when busy but it'd be amazing to be able to start late and finish early without that fear at the back of your mind that somebody's keeping tabs and know you're probably not going to be bothered either.
I'd fully support this in my workplace but don't doubt there'll be the usual r/uk crowd who will accept nothing but fully automated luxury space communism *right now* to the point they can't see the trail of baby steps leading there.
Yup you've summed my thoughts up spot on there. Hopefully more firms start offering a condensed week for those that want it. There seems to be a bit of lethargy on Fridays in many sectors anyway.
Yeah, my working hours are 8-18:30 at the moment. Giving me a day where I can just not show up would help immensely.
What if, and hear me out, what if we just did a solid 40 hours continual work and have a 5 day weekend?
My code can't get much more shit anyway.
Year I need a day to recover from work, before I can start enjoying my weekend.
Yeah, I think it would help people spread out from cities too as with a three day weekend you can more easily drive to see mates for a full two days.
And let's be honest, plenty of us do 10+ hours a day anyway. I'm contracted for 37.5 but 9/10 I work 7-5:30
Well it is.
A four day week is advantegous because you get more money from the cost of the commute if the hours are extended.
I have no idea who is petitioning for a four day week that also comes with a 20% drop in their income.
The idea is that you work less hours and get paid the same, because you do the same amount of work with less wasted time. It sounds like it wouldn't work, but it seems to always work in tests.
> It sounds like it wouldn't work
Because it won't. Where are you supposed to get the 25% extra efficency from?
Partially Parkinson's Law, and the reverse of it. Some of it is in prioritising important work over things that waste time.
Some benefits are less obvious, like reducing the risk of burnout and saving resources by only having an office open 4 days a week.
Basically a POETS day as many an industry used to have. Work extra time during the week to finish at lunchtime on a Friday.
That's "Piss Off Early, Tomorrow's Saturday" if anyone's wondering...
I'm only just old enough to remember that, had a few jobs as a teenager / early 20s where that was the case, and it was fucking mint. Felt like a proper weekend ! No arguments over who got the "best" half day off either, we ALL left at 12 from top manager down to cleaning staff.
Thing is, it only suits certain industries, mostly manufacturing., which the elite and speculators asset stripped / sold off and sent away abroad to make more £££ for themselves.
Customers just wouldn't accept that now, in our "service based economy".
Yeah, the company I worked for that did this had been around for a century, built parts for spitfires in the war. Gone now. Family firm that employed hundreds at various sites around the midlands. Bought out by a multinational, broken up and sold off and now the parts they used to make are imported from that same multinational's overseas factories in the developing world. Probably cost the UK about 3000 jobs.
They still have one factory in the area, almost exclusively uses agency workers. I know someone who worked there and it was normal to get a call telling you that you had to go in when you were off for mandatory overtime. This guy was out at a club, about 11pm and told he had to start work at 2am, he told them he was drunk and couldn't come in, they told him he was fired and never would again. He worked Monday-Thursday, 12 hour shifts 7am-7pm, this was 11pm on a Saturday night.
Jesus, I've seen some ridiculous shit pulled by agencies (and had some pulled on me too) over the years, but nothing near that.
Same for the 3 firms I was at, one was originally a tank sights factory, massive place, employed hundreds if not thousands. Even had its own social club and football pitches back in the day. They evolved over several buyouts and mergers into being a microchip inspection machine factory, using 10% of the site with the rest left to rot. It was bought by a yank, big promises were made and generosity was shown for a short while then he just shut the place down, asset stripped the IP to sell to the far east then sold the plot to developers. It's a housing estate now.
Another place, family run and built up military electronics supplier. Bought out by a multinational, asset and IP stripped then shut down.
The last, another electronics firm, shut due to a genuine downturn in business (BT decided to start buying from Huawei and suchlike for the next generation of tech, as they were cheaper. Yes that's the stuff they're now tearing out due to it being compromised) but since then it's spent half the time empty and the other half as office space for firms that come and go.
What makes it even sadder was, a good section of the guys that worked at all of them had been employed by the carriageworks which, you guessed it, had suffered the same fate.
There's a comparatively tiny portion of one of the chocolate factories left now (sold to the french by decree of Thatcher) mostly agency staffed on shit conditions and pay, and that's about it for a once great manufacturing city.
Sounds like you're in or around Bournville to me, knew a few folk who worked at the carriageworks, that was good work with decent pay that provided a decent standard of living for working class folks.
Sucks that this is the world we are in now, where short term gains were taken at the cost of the long term provision of employment in the area. So many British businesses have been sold off, broken up and the jobs gone.
Meanwhile we are supposed to celebrate yet another Amazon fulfilment centre opening because of the jobs. Never mind the tax avoidance or the fact that these aren't jobs with a future of any kind.
Good guess, but York actually... or at least I was until it turned into little more than an airbnb filled alcohol and history themed amusement park / place for people with good jobs in not as nice places to commute from. Only half decent large(ish) employer left other than NHS are the Unis. Packed up and moved on some years ago and never looked back !
I was lucky enough to accidentally end up self employed, using all the random skills I'd picked up along the way. I used to build technology, now I install and configure it instead.
I just hope that over the next 30 years before I retire, they don't figure out how to get the technology to install itself, or that's me screwed once again.
Completely agree on the Amazon thing, I travel the country and they're EVERYWHERE. There's one down the bottom of the main road from me even (where there used to be a steelworks). As much as I worry about my work being dumbed down / automated, Amazon and the like are only years away rather than decades and there's a lot more poor souls working in those megasheds and driving the vans than the likes of me in what is left of the technical manual trades !
So the government should control the chocolate supply?
> Customers just wouldn't accept that now, in our "service based economy".
The irony is if you made it 3.5 day weeks but ensured that there were sufficient staff at all times you'd have twice the avaliable jobs and people able to enjoy 3.5 days off work each week too.
Good point. I gave up and moved on to different things once there were literally no technical places left to work at anymore in my city but I'd guess it's the "service sector" firms that implement ideas such as this / are flexible that get good staff ratings and retention.
It's just such a shame we don't really make much here anymore though. I'd hate to be a school / college leaver now and the only big employers with any work to offer being call centres, retail and customer service where there were once factories and industry.
We used to do this in my first factory job, 8-5:15 Mon-Thurs, 8-12 on Fri. I always used to get in trouble with the missus for calling in for a pint or two with mates after work and then falling asleep on the sofa when she had planned to go shopping.
I work roughly from 8 and by 3 i am generally brain dead 9 hours a day you are still only going to get 7 hours outta my brain
It's weird how this varies by sector. I do 3x12hrs and I love it. 4 days off per week.
Yeah, I feel like 8 hour shifts are too long. I've mentally checked out by hour 6. Then I'm just watching the clock and waiting for finishing time.
I wouldn't mind working 5 days a week if each shift was 6 hours long.
A standard 9 1/2 hour shift in the service industry - especially now - is a blessing.
Alas, with an extra day off a week for day-walkers, the demand for more staff in drinking holes would mean I’ll never see three days off a week unless I book a day off…
Damnit I work 9-10 hours/day five days a week, on salary…. Bleh
I work more than that over five days, and I'm still under 42 hours.
Well said. Fight on!
Absolutely. In most of the western world productivity has increased significantly without a corresponding increase in remuneration for workers. The ratio of work done to money earned needs to improve, whether that is more money per hour or less hours for the same money.
I'm not massively optimistic, as you say the unions have been demonised and declawed. Thatcher's legacy seems to have been broadly successful.
People still hate unions because of the 70s and 80s, however unions seem to be becoming more and more necessary as employers start asking for more from their employees for nothing, while being happy to replace them at a second's notice.
Or not as is the case in my team, where they never replace anyone who leaves and we end up covering the work for eternity.
They're trying to make it harder to fight to do less work than it is to do the work because they want doing hardly any work to be their exclusive luxury.
Not many people would want to work regressive 10hr shifts over four days. No real downtime especially with a commute so you will spend your extra day off catching up on rest and house work. Can't imagine they are good for productivity either.
Yeah, this. I’ll take 4 days at the normal rate, I’m not working 10 hours.
We've been doing 4 day weeks (with normal hours) for our staff since Christmas. They're still just as productive and no one wants to go back to 5 days. They all say their personal work-life balance is excellent, and as bosses we get a bit of time ourselves on the Wednesday to just catch up, decompress, and do some of the work ourselves, or just have the day off ourselves. It's excellent and I don't think we can go back now.
Does everyone work the same 4 days? Or do they get to choose?
I had a business before I had my kids and wanted to have flexible working and 4 day weeks but my business partner was very old school and we never got to implement it.
Everyone tends to work the same 4 days, but we're super flexible - so people can start much later and go on to the evening, or spread their hours out. The main thing is people are aware that if they do work Wednesdays then they'll probably be by themselves so need to make sure they go over what they'll be doing the day before.
Are you looking to hire software engineers by any chance?
Not quite yet - but hopefully next year we'll be after a Unity Game / VR Dev .
4 day weeks sound great but I very much doubt my work will continue paying me my full pay if I work a day less a week. I also don't want to merge that day into 4 longer days and I don't want less pay
The article doesn't go into it. But in most studies of this, productivity actually increases when moving to a 4 day week. So no reason to pay you less, as you are still getting the same work done.
Many employers wouldn't see it that way of course, but the evidence is pretty clear, and flex schedules will probably be encouraged to move that way in the future.
It feels so outdated and old school but yeah I doubt many places will agree to do it. It sucks but I think it would give me a completely new lease for life having that extra day (and same pay)
Yet they were the same about WFH and they were proved wrong about that for most people. The last year has shown that it is a good time to experiment with new working practices.
> Many employers wouldn't see it that way of course, but the evidence is pretty clear
I wouldn't say the evidence is _clear_, there's been a few studies that support the idea. There's also industries which simply don't have the same input/output of time. If you're on the line at a meat processing plant, or stocking warehouses, you're not going to increase production by cutting available time by 20%, as time is the limiting factor, not concentration.
Nah, sure, there will be some industries where this simply doesnt work. To be fair, there are some industires today where your normal working time rights in the UK don't apply (Oil Rigs come to mind), and I personally worked in trade shows and events previously where it was very difficult while at an event to keep to an 8 hour day, let alone a 40 hour week.
Yeh events suck for anything normal. It's better but not great.
Especially if freelance it sucks. And then being asked to opt out of wtd.
After a boss who just blew budget on crew to make sure we didn't have tired hands doing 15 hour shifts in this weather. I never don't try and do the same.
If only most people's pay was attached to productivity in the first place.
Pay hasn't kept up with productivity in a long time. We should be working maybe two to three days to compensate.
Since the 70's in the UK average worker productivity has grown by about 114%, median real wages has grown by about 72%.
We should be paid around 40% more than we are based on productivity, or another way is we should be paid the same but only do a 3 day weeks.
4 day working weeks give back the work/life balance and makes people more productive and loyal. With labour shortages all over the world this could help encourage people to stay in a job and not completely hate it. I'd say that's worth full pay. Also it's better for the environment because there are less people using public transport daily. #FridaysforFuture.
I agree with you 100% . No doubt my work would jump on the transport part and encourage CYCLING and vegetarian days to help the environment
Unfortunately we need all the help we can get.
Yeah, I literally couldn't afford the 20% pay cut that would likely come with it. Unless it's 4 10 hour days?
I'm WFH doing "office work" and my week is 37 hours which would bring me to 8 hrs 45 mins a day, which I think many would be jumping at the chance to merge into 4 days but I find 7 hours WFH so boring
Usually refers to 4 x 10h days instead.
The icelandic one was 35hrs.
Sounds about the same though, 9.5h days.
8.25 i a typical work day where I live. A standard week is around 42-44 hours. That's slightly above, but not far off
Wait so you’d rather do 5x8h days instead of 4x 10h days?
In a lot of jobs there is only so much work you can do in one day before you're completely burnt out.
Yes. I work in intellectually demanding job, after about 4 hours I feel fatigued and my output plummets. Working 10 hours straight sounds insane. I have to fill the last 4 hours with admin and meetings.
Maybe it works for jobs where you can just turn your brain off.
Man when you find out doctors work 12’s…
And that causes mistakes that cost peoples lives specifically because the brain switches off.
Got a source for that? Nearly the entire medical community agrees that 10-12h shifts are ideal as it reduces the number of days worked and allows time to de stress and adjust, as well as reducing the number of night shifts required.
It also means there's only 2 handovers per day rather than 3. Handover to the new shift is a big source of errors/mistakes so I'm told.
Working 8h sounds great but do you really think the guy who’s working 2200-0600 is any sharper at 0530 than the guy who did 1800-0600, let alone if that guy now has to do 5 night shifts instead of 4?
This is why our lab also has a paper copy of the handover. It reduces the risk of error as it means that there is less that needs to be handed over verbally.
>Got a source for that?
Do you? extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, lorry drivers are not legally allowed to work that long because of the risk to others how are doctors any less deadly given the same circumstances?
The British Medical Association’s annual conference was told long hours increased the risk of mistakes by 27 percent.
nurses manning the wards for 12 hours or more make three times as many blunders as those on duty for eight hours
Yeah I think some jobs are just different to others. When I was an admin/office junior - 4 days would've been easy. This position is far more demanding.
5 x 7 hour days. Honestly I really dunno at this point, I'm at a stage where I find WFH incredibly boring
If they were good for business then why don't they do it?
Ask your boss?
Increases in productivity promise a better work-life balance, but historically though the development of productivity enhancing technology (the most recent being computers) has only been used to justify paying for less staff.
The job market is just as competitive as any other market and the more jobs you cut thanks to new tools doing the work of hundreds for 1% of the cost, the more competitive the jobs that remain are because of supply and demand.
So, not only are we not going to see a four-day week ever, we will see this trend of people also working harder and longer for comparatively less pay will continue for the foreseeable future.
I found the 4 day a week better than 5, but talking on the phone for 10 hours straight just drains the life out of you.
I think that's why call centres do it, so people will be too tired to look for jobs the 3 days they have off.
For years I did a 9 day fortnight and it changed my life. Basically an extra 45 mins a day gave me every second Friday off. Get all admin errands done or get away for the weekend. Then do the school run attend school events etc. I would usually get to work at least 30 minutes early in any case. I also had 6 weeks annual leave plus 8 Bank Holidays. Work life balance was amazing.
For anyone curious Bakedins delivery terms are "Standard shipping is 3-5 working days from order."
That will be partially due to a 4 day week. If people want their shit next day because that's what amazon has set as the standard then the company can't operate on a 4 day week.
If you say "well just open 5 days but put people on a 4 day week" that doesn't work either, you've then got loads of additional overhead vs another company thats on a 5day week plus you're still losing days because Johns not in today and he knows what's going on with that order etc.
If people want 4day weeks they need to start being ok with longer delivery times.
Four day weeks are great for some individual businesses, but are structurally risky for our consumption based economy as a whole.
The busy working lives we lead drive a lot of consumption of time saving and convenience products. If you give people more time back, then maybe they don't need to buy processed food or they have time to drop things off to be repaired rather than just buying a new one.
You know what certainly won't create more resentment? When the officer workers get to work 4 day weeks while the service workers schedules remain unchanged.
Sounds like the working time directive needs to be addressed rather than explicitly defining the days of the working week.
CEOs want to have four day weeks at their companies - fine. Don't try and legislate for it though because that won't work.
Im sure people said the same thing about the 5 day work week and the 8 hour work day too.
There is no such thing as a nationally mandated 5 day week or 8 hour day. There are health and safety rules to limit how long people can work for without taking a break, but no national guidance on days and times, it's based on business need.
Which is exactly why we end up with shit like nurses working 12 hour days. It should be legislated. If you work over the limit, companies should be required to pay overtime.
Do you think nurses are working beyond their contracted hours without being paid for it?
No, the NHS pays overtime. But 8 hour shifts should the max, with going over that being a rare event not the norm.
But most people working salaried positions don't even get that paid overtime as it is.
I don't disagree that nurses / NHS staff in general should receive better conditions. But there is no way that the government should agree to reduce the working week for nurses to 32 hours but on the same pay that they get for 40 hours. It would bankrupt the NHS.
Hard to tell if you're genuine or just trying to stir...
I'm genuine. The government has no place telling me how long I can work for. That is up to me and my employer to negotiate.
It's cool bro, no need to apologise
Oh good, for a second there I thought you were a moron.
No worries dude, I thought the same of you with your government comment :)
Really? But we know that a government mandated 4 day week wouldn't work.
Yeah it did
good news, you are already protected from working too long, this exists right now https://www.gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours
Yes I know. Why are you telling me?
> Don't try and legislate for it though because that won't work.
you don't seem to understand how we already did legislate for working hour limitations and it did work.
No, if you read what I said properly, you will see that a limit on working hours is a health and safety regulation. The 4 day working week is not. They are different things.
.... okay so one, you said nothing about health and safety, you might want to go edit your comment to refer to that if you think that is what you said, you didn't.
I did on another comment, I just confused who was replying to me. But my point stands that a limit on working hours and a four day week are different things.
You could still negotiate with a 38.5 hour working week. I don't understand what leverage you think you're losing.
I'm not losing anything, I don't understand why you thought that I thought I would be.
I'm not sure I get what you're saying in that case. How do you negotiate your working week with your employer? All of the jobs I've ever had or advertised have a stated annual leave allowance, I get that you could negotiate that but it's not normally done in my experience.
I certainly don't see how changing the working hours for everyone would adversely affect this.
I don't think that you understand the implications of a nationally mandated 4 day week. It has nothing to do with maximum working hours, and it has nothing to do with annual leave.
A standardised four day week has to come with a decrease in the maximum working hours, otherwise it would permit 12 hour working days.
What do you negotiate with your employer and how would a four day week impact this?
Yeah, you don't get it do you..
*Then perhaps you should explain your position.*
I'm not sure what you're saying here. Do you want free access to the job market, or do you want the government to have more control?
I'm saying it's hardly a negotiation when you have so much more to lose than your employer
I still don't understand what you mean. The job market will find its value. There are things that the government *can* add value to by interfering - but generally it's a bad idea. A mandated 4 day week is exceptionally bad.
I mean it's an uneven negotiation
>A mandated 4 day week is exceptionally bad
How is it worse than 5 days
It's not. Mandated 5 days would be bad too