During the summer of 2019, I noticed my workload started to feel more like a routine instead of me scrambling every free second I had to get things done. Part of this came from the fact my kids were getting older and since I work from home, they were distracting me less.
However, I was getting better at organizing, prioritizing, and focusing on the task at hand instead of trying to do three things at once.
One week I decided to buckle down and work extra so I could take that Friday off and spend the day at the beach with my kids. It was glorious. As we were lying there in the white sand I realized since I did work for myself I had the power to do this every week if I wanted.
The next Friday, we spent the day at my friend’s pool. The next, we spent the entire day going back to school shopping and eating things like oversized pretzels and fruit smoothies in the air conditioned mall.
When my kids returned to school, I decided I’d try and keep my Friday’s free because I felt at peace and more like myself. I could handle the extra workload four days a week if I had a three day weekend to look forward to.
It’s also allowed me to be more productive since I no longer wonder when I’m going to fit in getting the car washed, make that dentist appointment, or do the grocery shopping. I know it will get done on Friday.
While I had control over my schedule, if you aren’t self employed, you don’t have that power. But there are companies out there who have been experimenting with the four day work week and it may become more of a widespread thing.
We all know the struggle of work/life balance is real and can affect our mental and physical health.
Time reports, “Earlier this year, the Spanish government agreed to begin a small, nationwide trial of a four-day workweek, and will meet in late March to hammer out the details. The concept itself is not new; the four-day week has been a goal of many left-leaning political parties since the start of the 20th century, and no less an authority than economist John Maynard Keynes argued that ever-increasing efficiency would soon free up more leisure time within industrialized societies.”
According to NPR, Microsoft Japan implemented the four-day work week and saw a big rise in employee productivity.
Shake Shack, a burger chain in the United States, has a pilot program where some of its store supervisors have been able to take advantage of the shorter work week. Those participating say it’s improved their life and finances by saving them a day of child care.
It was also a big draw to get people to apply to work at the Shake Shack, says CEO Randy Garutti.
And the co-founder and CEO of Wildbit started giving her employees a taste of the four-day work week a few years ago and it’s working. “We had shipped more features than we had in recent years, we felt more productive, the quality of our work increased. So then we just kept going with it,” she told NPR.
Scary Mommy asked their audience what they thought about implementing a four-day work week and most of them said, “Bring it on!”
Jeff M. currently has a shorter work week and he says it’s been a game changer. “My work is immersive and two more hours make zero difference on my mental health, but the extra day off makes a huge difference. The only possible con is that it’s harder to break the overtime ceiling, but that’s another reason for employers to like it.”
Many people agreed they’d rather work a bit longer each day knowing they had an entire day off to get things done or relax.
Kelsea Z. and her husband own their own business and give their employees a four-day work week as well saying they work 4 10-hour days. “They love it,” she says. “They’re very productive those 4 days and come back rested.”
And Sarah C. currently works three days a week (12 hour shifts) and says she’d never be able to go back to working five days a week even though her job is exhausting.
Of course there’s a lot to consider here and many companies (such as stores and restaurants) would have to hire extra employees so they could offer four days work weeks.
It seems most of us are all in and have wondered why it’s taken this long to start implementing something like this.
As for me, it’s changed my life quite a bit. I feel more rested, less stressed, and I’m able to get things done on a Friday and actually feel like I have a weekend because I’m not playing catch up for two days.
Are you here for the four-day work week? Or are you happy working five days on with two days off?