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Old 25th December 2018, 11:50   #1
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Default The 4-day working week?

Burnout, stress lead more companies to try a four-day work week

Reuters Updated on December 17, 2018
Quote:

Work four days a week, but get paid for five?

It sounds too good to be true, but companies around the world that have cut their work week have found that it leads to higher productivity, more motivated staff and less burnout.

“It is much healthier and we do a better job if we’re not working crazy hours,” said Jan Schulz-Hofen, founder of Berlin-based project management software company Planio, who introduced a four-day week to the company's 10-member staff earlier this year.

In New Zealand, insurance company Perpetual Guardian reported a fall in stress and a jump in staff engagement after it tested a 32-hour week earlier this year.

Even in Japan, the government is encouraging companies to allow Monday
mornings off, although other schemes in the workaholic country to persuade employees to take it easy have had little effect. Britain’s Trades Union Congress is pushing for the whole country to move to a four-day week by the end of the century. It argues that a shorter week is a way for workers to share in the wealth generated by new technologies like machine learning and robotics, just as they won the right to the weekend off during the industrial revolution.

Lucie Greene, trends expert at consultancy J Walter Thompson, said there is a growing backlash against overwork, underlined by a wave of criticism after

Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted that “nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”
Would love to hear the views of members on this. A 4-day working week or a French style 35-hour working week - anyone for it? anyone against it?

Are nations and careers built and great things achieved on a 4-day week? Is Musk right that to really build something you cant idle along on a 40-hour week? On a another tangent should we have a 4-day working week, get paid for 4-days and then indirectly create employment for more youth. So earn less but have more leisure time.

When I started working in the early 1980s a 6-day week was almost a universal norm in India including government offices. Only the [in my eyes] spoilt MNCs worked a 5-day week. I didn't like it. As it is they were paid more and they seemed to work less. Life is not fair :-)

A Saturday evening was a very very precious patch of time then. It was de rigueur for my wife and me to live it up on Saturday night - the only evening when you didn't have to think that the following day is a work day. Then, some time in the late 1980s, came Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's policy of a 5-day week for Government departments and gradually the public sector and private sector followed the lead.

Which is better a 5-day or a 6-day week. Well frankly, dear members, I don't know as I have now got used to a 5-day week and a 4-day week sounds like something for the weak kneed and the lazy {the old middle aged man in me is speaking now with that stern wagging finger}- but who knows. As a semi-retired man of leisure I now enjoy a four day working week
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Old 25th December 2018, 12:36   #2
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

Mod note: Thread moved to Shifting Gears.
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Old 25th December 2018, 12:48   #3
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
A 4-day working week or a French style 35-hour working week - anyone for it? anyone against it?

Which is better a 5-day or a 6-day week.
I've seen small entrepreneurs who work 6 and a half days a week and are still satisfied. Half a Sunday is all they need as a break.

There are others who only enjoy 5-7 days' break a year during the Gujju New Year.

It is not the number of hours but how productive and satisfying those hours are that make a difference.

In my view, a day that starts at 8 am and ends at 4 pm 5.5 days a week, without stressful deadlines would work best; in such a case, a Saturday holiday makes better sense than a Sunday. One day a month Work From Home would be an added sop.

So far as travel goes, taking early morning departures to attend business meetings makes stress shoot.

It just isn't worth carrying extra stress just for the sake of netting big cash at the end of the month.
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Old 25th December 2018, 13:20   #4
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

We as a country lag behind when it comes to work life balance and as long as the notion of spending more time in office equals more productivity mindset changes, things will pretty much remain the same! 4 work day in a week means your avg per day production time will easily touch 10 hours on paper and 12/13 hours in reality, it just doesn’t make sense to me.
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Old 25th December 2018, 13:40   #5
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

We in India should first talk about a 5 day week being mandated before we move on to a concept of 4 day week.
There are so many companies that have a 6 day week which I just cannot fathom. We basically don't have a sense of work life balance in India.
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Old 25th December 2018, 13:54   #6
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

Totally agree with Vigsom above - "It is not the number of hours but how productive and satisfying those hours are that make a difference."

Personally, I don't like much down time and would much rather prefer 5-day week and two days for my pet projects and domestic chores etc.

One of the companies I was working with in Manyata would really cut into my personal private time. The folks never understood that and always expected one person to do the job of three people [one of the primary reasons for unemployment in our country].

5-days a week seems to be a good balance with occasional high pressure deadlines and challenges and leaving my personal time for personal projects and passions (photography, gardening, teaching, learning new s/w, open hardware stuff, etc...).
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Old 25th December 2018, 14:48   #7
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

The key word for me here is COMPANIES. Whether they work for 4, 5, 6 or 7 days is immaterial. They work with one motive and one motive alone - profit. Whatever maximises profit will invariably be picked. Any actions that might appear like benevolence towards the employees is just pretence. From the report in question:
Quote:
companies around the world that have cut their work week have found that it leads to higher productivity, more motivated staff and less burnout.
On the other hand, think of what will happen to our society if everyone decides to take three days a week off. We will certainly be existing in a less conducive world.

Government of Karnataka is currently exploring the option of shifting to a five day week. Disagreement with that idea was one of the reasons for a recent thread of mine on too many off days.

I currently work for 5.5 days a week. Wouldn't really mind shaving off the excess half day. But four days would be too much, errrr too little for me, or in my personal opinion, for anyone. Its another matter that in a workplace where remuneration isn't based on or linked to productivity, a 1 day week will be as (in)effective as a 7 day one.

Last edited by dailydriver : 25th December 2018 at 14:49.
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Old 25th December 2018, 15:03   #8
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

I would love them to even stick to a 6 day week in my industry. I get only 2 sundays off in a month. the concept of work-life balance doesn't apply at all. And the senior people/ people in the decision making capacity keep harping about the need for emergency services, humanitarian angle of the profession etc. But in reality, all this is a sham. It all boils down to 1 word - profit. No one is complaining about working on a sunday or a holiday ( just like I am on duty right now on Christmas). But if they can simply hire more people, there would be no need of the same person working for 28 days in a month or working for 36 hours at a stretch.
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Old 25th December 2018, 15:18   #9
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

My home country is well known for the fact that we work almost the least of all nations. Dutch women work on average 29 hours and Dutch men 36 hours per week.

Many years ago a concept known as ATV (Arbeidstijdverkorting, which translates to shortening work hours) was introduced. At the time it was primarily aimed to get more people working. So many labour contracts were changed from a 40 hour work week to a 36 work week. The idea that all those 4 hours would create new jobs. It was partially successful.

There were tax advantages for the companies and the individuals.

If you drop from 40 to 36 or even 32 hours a week, you gross income will obviously drop. But as we have quite high income tax, the nett effect tends to be a lot less. Sometime by dropping 10-20% of your gross income, you also might find yourself eligible for certain additional tax advantages.

Also, many Dutch couples, both partners work. Still the men the most, but a lot of women still continue working even with kids. So very often couples decide they both cut down on hours, but between the two of them they still earn a good living. And it allows them to share the house work and time with the kids.

Of course, shortening everybody’s work week is somewhat different from what is happening in the Netherlands, essentially more and more people working part time. Even so, the ‘official’ work week, i.e. a full time job is considered 36 hours and not 40 hours for many Dutch employees.

But some of the effects are similar. Whereas the Dutch work less, they tend to be very productive. Also, life-balance is considered to be quite good, Dutch are quite the happy and prosperous country.

Jeroen
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Old 25th December 2018, 15:23   #10
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

The problem isn't the number of workdays, the problem is the constant guilting that goes around, making people feel like they're wasting their life if they aren't constantly thinking of the bottom line, whether for their employer or themselves.

People need to understand and respect boundaries on their time: work, leisure, family, friends, personal interests, whatever demands one's time.

A simple experiment I conducted with my team: Do you feel better at the end of a seven-day work-week Vs. a five-day work-week? I've had team members say they felt worse the longer they worked beyond regular hours, because they start feeling unequal to their responsibilities at some point of overwork, and it's a downward spiral from there.
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Old 25th December 2018, 15:25   #11
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Default re: The 4-day working week?

My favorite take on work vs leisure

http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html

Quote:
The war showed conclusively that, by the scientific organization of production, it is possible to keep modern populations in fair comfort on a small part of the working capacity of the modern world. If, at the end of the war, the scientific organization, which had been created in order to liberate men for fighting and munition work, had been preserved, and the hours of the week had been cut down to four, all would have been well. Instead of that the old chaos was restored, those whose work was demanded were made to work long hours, and the rest were left to starve as unemployed. Why? Because work is a duty, and a man should not receive wages in proportion to what he has produced, but in proportion to his virtue as exemplified by his industry.
This is the morality of the Slave State, applied in circumstances totally unlike those in which it arose. No wonder the result has been disastrous. Let us take an illustration. Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?
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Old 26th December 2018, 07:51   #12
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Default Re: The 4-day working week?

4-day work week isn't for me. I'm very happy with the 5-day working week. It's the sweet spot IMHO. Of course, it helps that I love my work, but it's fun to push hard for 5 days and then chill for 2. As an entrepreneur though, there is never an "off" day. Even on weekends, I find myself putting an hour here or an hour there in some work. Because it's fun, no complaints from me.

In the early years of my career, I used to work 6 days a week, sometimes on Sundays too. Building one company is a lot of work and I started with 2. Eventually, we made it alternate Saturdays off and now, just 5 days / week.

I'm big on work-life balance. Am the happiest if my team leaves office at 6 pm.

Have noticed one thing though. If you are a businessman, your first decade is a lot of hard work & you will be working much longer than your friends & relatives who are in the corporate world. However, after a decade or so (once your business is established), you can make your hours shorter. For those in the corporate world though, it's the opposite. I have seen that, the higher your designation, the longer your hours. In my 40s, my hours are now much shorter than my friends in the corporate world.

Last edited by GTO : 26th December 2018 at 07:53.
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Old 26th December 2018, 08:52   #13
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Default Re: The 4-day working week?

Concepts like 6-day, 5-day or 4-day week lose their meaning, if work follows you everywhere thanks to email/WhatsApp/mobile/internet communications. Yeah, IT services companies have 5 day week, but they assign at least 8 day worth of work to all their staff.

You can have your 5 day week, as long as all the assigned 8-day work is completed. It is pointless unless a cultural change happens at a society or industry level.
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Old 26th December 2018, 09:02   #14
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Default Re: The 4-day working week?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Concepts like 6-day, 5-day or 4-day week lose their meaning, if work follows you everywhere thanks to email/WhatsApp/mobile/internet communications.
+1 ..


They first called it Work-life balance, and then things got mixed up enough that they are trying to cover it up by calling it Work-life integration". Either way, they put Work first. One would need to be careful to keep both discrete. If one can do that, then the convenience is useful.

Last edited by moralfibre : 26th December 2018 at 12:02. Reason: As requested.
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Old 26th December 2018, 09:15   #15
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Default Re: The 4-day working week?

It's upto the individual & what situation is viable.

One thing I've actually noticed about some people is that because they're not particularly satisfied with their personal life, they put all their time into work (seeing immediate tangible results). This is a slippery slope because, the day such people face failure at work, they can't cope with it. It seems asif it has personally hurt them, and they get stuck with that - they fail to move on.

This can happen to anyone, maybe. But I've noticed this seems prevalent across all levels among people who don't focus on personal life.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 26th December 2018 at 09:22.
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