Posted on 10th February 2023 at 10:26
Half asleep and bleary eyed, I roll over to hit the alarm that has just disturbed my ever so precious sleep – as it does every working day of the week. As I proceed to complete my standard morning routine on auto pilot, the mental check list I play out each day before leaving the house gets interrupted – something here isn’t right.
Then it dawns on me, I’m not working today! My gut reaction is to mourn the coveted lay in that has escaped me, but swiftly changes to thoughts of, “what the heck am I going to do today?’”.
Most people would think me foolish. Who doesn’t plan to do something on a day off, let alone a Friday which means a long weekend? But this isn’t a bank holiday or annual leave, Dancing Squirrel have recently signed up to the 4-day working week on a trial basis and this is my first 4-day week.
For those of you who think the concept sounds ridiculous or is an idea to appease the lazy generation, let me try and break it down. The basic premise is that you still do all the work required of you, meaning no cut in pay or benefits but in 80% of the time. The benefits of the 4-day working week are reflected in the 5 following areas.
With the advent of global lockdowns came remote working, as a result people across all generations have found value in having more time to themselves, putting health before wealth. The 4-day working week is a perfect compromise, allowing for an increase to leisure, rest & life admin time plus reductions in the cost of living (reduced childcare costs as an example). It also means people are more receptive to being in the office, meaning the work place community is not being sacrificed.
Research from the likes of Microsoft shows results of higher performance and profits, with some estimates putting the value at £104 billion a year across UK business. It also attracts higher quality candidates who tend to be happier, less stressed and as a result take less time off.
We as a nation suffer from overwork, underwork and unemployment. The 4-day working week offers a straightforward step to balance out these issues. It also means we are more productive in the hours we work – no scrolling through Insta for 30 minutes at your desk! Of course, the extra day off provides us with more leisure time which proves to be a boost to our local businesses.
The obvious one here is better mental and physical health. What isn’t, is the opportunity to share out paid/unpaid work across the sexes, such as caring roles, which often heavily lean one way. Through this balance it allows for more people to build relationships in their communities and support more community lead projects.
The long and short of it is a seriously reduced carbon footprint across the UK. Almost 127 million tonnes of CO2 a year (equivalent of 27 million cars) removed from the environment which would enable the UK to be a leader on the way to Net Zero 2050.
So back to my long weekend, what the heck did I do?
Well, I got to use a gym that wasn’t flooded with every other person who finished work at 5pm. I got to go to the local butcher and town market that isn’t available at the weekend. I picked up that book I got halfway through a year ago and I found myself enjoying general life admin because there was no pressure to get it done - all the cooking, washing, ironing and cleaning! I got to sit down and just breathe… and I still felt like I had so much time for the fun stuff without the burden of things not yet done on my mind.
My “long weekends” are now just my weekends, & I have made plans with friends and family who I have wanted to give more time to for a while. Needless to say, I won’t be waking up with the same question next time, “what the heck am I going to do today?”.
Will this work within the events industry in the long run? Well, that’s why we are trialling it. However, with flexibility from both employee and employer I am convinced the 4-day working week is the next evolution in working practice.
If you would like to find out more about the 4-day week then visit https://www.4dayweek.co.uk/ for additional info.
Tagged as: Change
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