4 Day Work Week…Would It Really Be So Bad?

20 Mar

friday

The workforce is a scary place right now.

Really, it is.

For those unemployed, it seems like it’ll take a miracle of God to find a job.

And for those of us who DO have jobs, we hope and we pray that we’ll be able to keep them.

Even GREAT organizations…even organizations that have been recognized for their financial stability… right now, they’re having to deal with not-so-great stuff like budget cuts and layoffs.

Take a look at the equation below, it’s pretty simple.

Budget cuts + fear of layoffs = unhappy, scared, & unproductive employees

Ask any employer.

I was thinking about this yesterday because I came across the term “Furlough Fridays.”

For those of you who don’t know, the term “furlough” is essentially a leave of absence, a vacation, a holiday. You’ll hear this term a lot these days because many government employers are implementing “furloughs”.

They’re mandating that employees take time off work….with no pay.

Basically, they don’t have money to pay you…so you need to go home.

NOT COOL.

So then I started thinking about it…what would happen if I had Fridays off because my employer couldn’t afford to pay me?

Would the extra time off be worth the pay cut?

And so I came to the conculsion that for some people, it WOULD be worth it.

I’ve written a lot about Gen Y and how we’ve pretty much redefined what success looks like.

Instead of spending our entire lives devoted to a job, 70+ hours a week, we want time to spend with our familes and our friends.

We want time to pursue our other interests, our other hobbies.

We want time to travel.

But we give up a lot of this time because we need to make ends meet. We need to pay rent.

More often than not, a part-time job just won’t pay the bills.

But on the other hand, a full-time job usually leaves us exhausted, with no time to enjoy the other aspects of life that we’re interested in.

But what about an extra day off every week? What about an extra day off every TWO weeks?

I think some people would love that.

Now I’m not trying to say that all employers should send their employees home every Friday. I’m not trying to say that employees should be paid less.

What I AM trying to say is that in SOME situations, rather than having to lay off employees, the budget could possibly be reduced by allowing employees the option of working a few days less each month.

At a time when employers are trying to cut budgets while avoiding at all costs having to lay off employees, I think it might be a good time to think outside the box.

I think we’d be surprised by how many people would jump at the chance to have a little more time off.

To have an extra day to spend with their kids.

To have an extra day to run errands.

To have an extra day to go away for the weekend.

It’s not feasible for all employers. It’s not feasible for all employees.

But in some situations, I think it is.

And I certainly think it’s a much better option than having to lay off employees.

Because laying off employees kills morale.

It kills morale and it can destroy an organization’s culture in two seconds.

But allowing employees to have an extra day of freedom…

That might just do the complete opposite.

Something to think about…

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27 Responses to “4 Day Work Week…Would It Really Be So Bad?”

  1. Katie March 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Personally, I’d love the extra time to unwind. I think we could all use a little mandatory mental health day every now and then.

  2. Aja March 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I believe that in Europe they work 4 days a week and are more productive because of that. It gives people time to rest so that when they come back to work on Monday they can be more productive. While times are hard, an extra day off every now and then wouldn’t be so bad.

  3. bumpynose March 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    I would LOVE to find out where the 5 day work week concept originated from! Oh, and the 8 hour concept! Great blog!

  4. ourageisretrospective March 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    I am currently working a 28 hour work week with permission from my boss. It is awesome, and I still make very liveable wages. Us young Gen-Y’ers are still used to living on college wages, and without a mortgage or children there really is no reason to work 40 hours a week. I spend my free time taking graduate level classes, volunteering, and blogging occasionally. As my life progresses, it might not be possible to only work 28 hours a week, but right now it is pretty awesome!

  5. becca3416 March 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    YES. Not to mention, an extra day off seems like it would boost productivity for days on. If people start resenting their jobs or employers for robbing them of precious time, to where they feel they can not enjoy their non work lives, they are not going to want to give their all when they are there.

    • brittanydoss7 March 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

      This 100% sums up how I feel about my job! I feel like I can’t have a life outside of it because I’m always at work or commuting, and since I’m in my first year, I have no vacation days. I definitely half-a** the majority of what I do here because I’m unmotivated to work for an employer that doesn’t understand that everyone needs a day off here and there for mental health & wellness.

  6. sweetlyindecisive March 20, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    I’m all for the 4 day work week – I’d love to have a free day to volunteer, study or do freelance work. I definitely think it would make people more productive, and I think a lot of people could manage fine with the slightly lower salary that would go with it.

  7. Michael Sleap March 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Hi Kayla. Great post as usual. I have voluntarily moved to a 4 day week this year and it has been a very positive move. Sure, I get 20% less pay but I now get a day each week where I am primary carer for my young kids and a bit more thinking time too. I have also found that I am better organised and more productive at work as I know I have only 4 days in which to get work done so I am much more ruthless with my time.

    The concept of a five day week working 9 to 5 is slowly disappearing – I think it is often self imposed constraints (either by an employee or manager) that prevent people from considering different or flexible working arrangements. Now I am wondering why I didn’t make this change much earlier!

  8. yourmasterdater March 21, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    You know I find that technology is making it possible to be more work-flexible. Doesn’t always have to happen duing the day in a cubicle but I don’t find my days getting shorter — I feel like I’m working all the time. Just not always at a breakneck pace.

  9. thefitzgeraldtimes March 21, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    A four-day work week is the dream of probably a LOT of people.

  10. jackiehames March 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I like the concept of a four day work week the same as everybody else. But, I’m one of those government employees that might experience a furlough. Twenty percent less pay, plus whatever is taken out of my salary for taxes and medical insurance, makes a big difference. Fortunately, I have a roommate right now that will help make up the difference, but if I didn’t I’d be in a bit of hot water.

    I’m trying to look on the bright side of the issue with the “woohoo three day weekend” concept, and the opportunity to freelance. But it’s not so great being forced into less time at work.

  11. brittanydoss7 March 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    I would absolutely love a day off every couple of weeks…given that I have no vacation days for my first year (that’s really motivating) and my work environment is overall depressing, a mental health day here and there would definitely help me to be more motivated and productive instead of dragging through work every day with no end in sight. This would especially be helpful for working parents who work 40+ hours a week, even with the slight decrease in pay.

  12. okfm March 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    I nominated you for a Liebster!! http://wp.me/s2FQD5-liebster

  13. menalbantis March 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Reblogged this on Michael E. Nalbantis.

  14. AlwaysARedhead March 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I’ve always believed that money does not buy happiness it only pays the bills, so if you can survive on a four day a week pay cheque then all is good.

  15. kwalitisme March 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on kwalitisme.

  16. RMSmithJr.SPHRRMSmithJr.SPHR March 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    I work in the private sector have have been 10% furloughed twice over the past ten years. Depending on your position within the company, the workload may or may not reduced by an equivalent amount. Mine wasn’t, I still had a job and dealt with it by working extra hours. But I do understand and feel both sides of the economic pain. I have lost significant income that will never be repaid.

    I have little sympathy for the overspending public sector. The private sector deals with these issues according to the ebb & flow of the economy.

    At the same time, I hope those impacted will find value in their imposed furlough time. Resize your personal economies. Read, write, plant & smell the roses, sit on the front porch, et al..

  17. joshuahill1987 March 24, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Hi Kayla

    There is a mid-tier law firm in my city that offers something similar. All staff do a 9.5 day fortnight. I.e. half their staff finish at midday every Friday (different half each week). Not exactly in the same vein as what you’re talking about, because it is given to all staff, but a novel idea they have used to compete with higher paying law firms. I mean how productive are any of us on Friday afternoon anyway.

    I am definitely a Gen Y’er who would work a 4 day week for 4/5ths of my current pay. The amount of tax I would save would make it a very small price to pay for an extra day a week.

    Josh.

  18. ifacedownworship March 25, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    Hi Kyla.

    Wow! So this is life. As a college student, (and it’s summer time here in the Philippines) I’d like to experience having a summer job again. The real tension is that I also wanted to have some rest. A kind of rest where I could be alone with God and in some occasions, have extra time with friends.

    Your post really forces me to think of what the future life would be for us students… after we finished our studies. Is work really a tool to help us be fulfilled individuals? Or would it rob us of the joy inside?

    Blessings!

  19. lineastrup April 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I know the feeling :) hehe

    Thx for following me, just peaking – but looks like a blog for my interest
    you can expect a follower ;)
    Have a love 4-day work-week ;)

  20. Mooselicker April 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    This made me want to go back to the serf system. I hope our generation isn’t the lost one. It’s starting to feel like there is no hope.

    • Kirsten Schroeder April 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Thanks for your post Kayla. As one who was downsized to a four day workweek years ago, I know the fear of such a change. But the upside has been enormous! Many people find that they can live on 80% of their income well, even though it is a scary thought.

  21. smallivy April 5, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    The problem is that employees cost a lot in training and infrastructure. Just paying 20% less doesn’t fully make up for all of the cost of needing to have five employees instead of four. In some cases it may work out where an employer doesn’t need fulltime people and can offer modified work weeks. I think a lot of people will also see their workday reduced to 30 hours whether they like it or not due to Obamacare.

    It kind of makes me sad though that so many people hate their jobs so much that they don’t want to even spend 40 hours a week doing it. When you work and do a good job, you are helping other people and contributing to society. Many mention volunteering, but just doing your job, if you are doing something useful, helps others out. Imagine if virtually everyone took Fridays off. You might be heading out of town for a three-day weekend only to discover that all of the gas stations and restaurants are closed. The beauty of the capitalist system is that those who best provide for the needs of others are best rewarded.

  22. needlenmat April 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Hi, Kayla, thanks for the follow. I hope the tips you find in my blog suit your future business plans. You have a ton of followers, I’m glad to be one of them.

  23. Ryan Gibson May 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Great post.

    It’s funny that I’ve actually written about something similar which is the 4 day work week but still maintaining the 40 hours a week. It’s something which 1/3 men in Holland work and they’ve got one of the strongest economies in Europe. You can check the post out here http://www.generationy.com/4-day-work-week/

    But you’re absolutely right. Instead of redundancies we should share wealth. People are already working far too much and then there’s others who aren’t working at all due to unemployment. It’s up to business leaders to find a happy medium. The flexibility of a four day week whether it’s part time hours or full time hours would suit everyone and not just us within the Gen Y population.

    Superb work Kayla.

    Ryan

  24. electricbohemian May 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    I am so glad that I wasn’t born in America, work is such a big thing there like the most important of all. I agree a vocation is good for any human being but slaving away all those hours for what at the end. When I went on my first backpacking trip to Thailand I was amazed to hear that an American we where speaking too had only 1 week off a year!! I mean one week.. that is unbelievable. We have a at least 4 weeks entitlement.Crazy place.

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  1. Badge of honor | Wordsmatter - April 17, 2013

    [...] Check out this post from Kayla, too: 4 Day Work Week. Different approach, different words, but deep down, the message is the [...]

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