Experiences so far:
– Shifting my sleeping pattern by an hour and a half made the first morning a little tough, but since then I’ve felt much livelier again as the new working hours are becoming routine.
– The additional working hours of each day have so far remained productive and haven’t yet given me that ‘it’s been a long day’ feeling. Neither do I feel that my evenings have been significantly shortened; there’s still plenty of time for me to relax and refresh for the following day.
– Starting work at 7:30am has encouraged me to be more efficient with my time in the mornings before I leave for work and I’ve so far managed to cut down my morning routine by roughly 20-25 minutes!
– The most frequent question I’ve been asked regarding the 5 in 4 experiment has to be ‘won’t people just work on the Friday anyway when a deadline is approaching?’… At this stage we can only wait and see what the answer will be.
– It doesn’t seem like the local newsagent is too happy about us buying one less paper each week!
– I’m hoping that this long weekend will be one of my most productive weekends to date due to the extra time that I will be able to spend on my personal projects and studies outside of the workplace. I believe that more can be achieved in the one Friday than in the five evenings of the previous working hours.
– As I’m not living with family here in Leeds I won’t experience many of the effects that the new hours have on family life, but I’m certainly interested to see how those living with partners and children find the change in routine.
– Although the first weekend is yet to come, I feel that there will be a positive impact on work/life balance
– I wonder if tea and coffee consumption will increase with the longer working hours, I’ll keep an eye on it!
– An early start hasn’t been a problem – I generally feel more productive in a morning but I do start to feel less productive when it gets to about 5 o’clock.
– Breaking off for lunch and getting some fresh air actually makes a difference and is really important when working longer hours – before I didn’t really leave the office for lunch.
– I think it should start to get a bit easier after a couple of weeks so the last few hours of the day don’t feel unproductive.
– Having Fridays off means planning to do something valuable with my time so that it doesn’t feel wasted. Hope to start doing more artwork and explore Leeds a bit more on my bike as I haven’t really had the chance to do so since moving here.
– Being unproductive towards the end of the day / making mistakes due to tiredness could lead to more time being spent time rectifying them.
I’m Matt, associate at Bauman Lyons, aged 33 and living with my fiancée in our own home in Huddersfield with our 10 month old baby boy & our new au-pair Lucy.
For me the scenario will be slightly different to the rest of the office as I have already been working a reduced week (4 days in 3 long ones to be roughly accurate) for about a year now and as such have begun to realise just how significant a difference this can make in both obvious and unexpected ways. However, what is most surprising now is that it’s things that were completely unexpected that have become amongst the most valued to us.
Less working time means less income but that hasn’t necessarily meant less money. We obviously have been saving on travel costs, childcare and so on, but it’s the small things that have really contributed to us actually having more money in the end, rather than less. Or at least that’s how it feels! One thing’s for sure though: we are certainly living richer lives for it.
The small things that have made the difference weren’t quite so obvious at first and have generally come about through our change in circumstances. The first one we recognised (which came about through me giving my fiancée a lift to work, already +£1.50 in our pockets, saved from the bus fare) was just how good the local weekday market is. I can’t believe how awful the fruit & veggies have become at big supermarkets and how much we’re shelling out for them. We’re now paying a lot less for a lot tastier produce, eating healthier and generally behaving more sustainably – supporting local business and even beginning to realise what’s in season, not because we’re reading up on it but because it’s reflected in the prices! I’m sure this is stuff my Grandma used to know! Who’d have thought??!!
I should also say that the reason I can give my fiancée a lift is because we work slightly more flexible hours (a 9.30 start instead of 9am for me), which has literally revolutionised our mornings, especially since having a baby. Such a small change as this, has meant less time sat on the motorway – as I now miss the worst of the rush hour traffic – therefore enabling me not only to drop-off my fiancée at her workplace on my way to mine, but above all it has enabled us, as a family, to have breakfast all together. I can’t quantify how important this is to us – not least because this is the only time I would get to see my son on a work day, as I wouldn’t normally get home before he was in bed. How about that??!!
As I now work 29 hours in 4 days (increased from 26 hours) this change doesn’t affect me too much – however, I have noticed that the week has gone so much quicker – on Wednesday I thought it was Tuesday eek!
From a personal point of view, I like mornings and enjoy my job so getting up nearly an hour earlier hasn’t had too much of a major impact although the queue for the bathroom takes some getting used to. When I used to come in the office it was quiet and I had time to set out my stall and get ready for the day – now when I come (as all staff have been in an hour already) the office is busy and straight away staff are needing me (a small point but noticeable).
To work with the rest of the team I changed my day off from a Thursday to Friday – you may think that’s not much of change but it took me a long time to find a great Yoga class on a Thursday and now cant go :o( – also when I’m not at work I’m am carer for my elderly parents and the day change has impacted on them. This may seem a negative thought but I am confident the 5in4 can work for the office – with a little outside understanding and good communication within the office!!
What my commute usually look like!
I’m LC, I joined Bauman Lyons as an Architect a year ago and since starting I have worked part time.
I live in Manchester and commute to Leeds by a combination of train and bike. I’m married and I’m not a parent, yet. Why am I sharing this? Because I know very well that if I was a mum, my needs/responsibilities towards family would be quite different from my current situation.
Nonetheless “5in4” (4in3 for me as part time) is a step up, in working hours, than what I was on before we began this interesting trial.
In the last 3 years I have actively been searching for a slower, lower-carbon lifestyle. I have had the possibility of taking a year off work-in-practice to study at the Centre for Alternative Technology for an inspiring MSc. This opportunity not only enabled me to learn new knowledge and skills, but actively instilled in me an understanding and appreciation that a very fulfilling life can be lived with less.
This has brought me to value working part time in an effort to find a better life-work balance. My week is full but richer because of it; I am able to give voluntary work just as much value as paid work and I feel I am a better Architect for it!
Hopes & Worries:
- I am excited to be part of an architecture practice which is not scared to challenge the profession status-quo, by giving the “5in4” a try while still understanding the need and value of flexibility…
- …Although part-time, I do think these new hours are probably going to push me very hard. I will need to leave the house at approximately 6.20am and I will not be back till 9.15pm (I am quite accurate with my timings as I am now a veteran in my train+bike commute!)
- Being able to work one of my days from home will enable me to cut down on commuting hours and also overall tiredness. It will also help me to concentrate and be very efficient without the disturbance of phone-calls etc.
- The isolation of working by myself will be balanced, hopefully, by the days spent in the office.
- The set up of the 5in4 (4in3 for me as part-time) will enable me to continue being involved in the various environmental and community projects I have help set up and run in Manchester over the past 5 years.
- A worry, which I am hoping will be unfounded, is that the level of tiredness will be too much to bear. A 10hr in the office, will mean a 14.5hr day for me, over two days alone I will clock up 30 hours approximately.
- Having to give up on vital and engaging personal activities. For example with the new working hours, I will now not be able to attend the monthly get together(s) of Manchester graduates from the Centre of Alternative Technology held on last Thursday of the month. I find this monthly event a burst of energy with regard to renewed knowledge and enthusiasm to live sustainably and support others in doing so.
- Hoping that if tired I will not take it out on my husband.
Going into week one
Concerns or Apprehensions:
- Yet to be seen if we can detach ourselves from the immediacy that modern society seems to demand. Even though we are all contactable on Fridays not all tasks are as efficiently dealt with remotely.
- Not sure yet whether 5in4 will mean we can save money by taking the pressure off the need to make rapid purchases due to lack of time or whether it might mean spending more on another day of activities.
Opportunities & Enthusiasms
- 2 days away from work never seems to be enough to sort out all the jobs that need doing around the house, spend time with my 2 year old son, time with my wife and time for myself.
Usually this means that everything is compromised.
I hope an extra day at home will lead to better quality time with and for all.
- The night before the start of the 4 day week….. I am nervous – will this work? Will daddy sleep through his early alarm call (highly likely!), will Daddy stay awake while reading bedtime stories, will Daddy really be at home on Friday or will the occasional meetings start to be arranged on this day? With all this in mind we are however very excited about this new way of working. What a great idea! Thursdays are the new Friday, more quality family time and a happier Daddy!
Kathryn and Harrison
- Just worked out I will save 30kg of Carbon per year in not driving in one day . I wonder how much carbon as well as time is spent in saving at least 30% of the usual community time. Less inefficient engine idling in traffic and stop starts. Commuting reduced by 110 hours per year.Great..but less time for Radio 4!
Gambia just announced that the whole country will work a 4 day week as if to confirm that #5in4′ plugs into the Zeitgeist. The excitement of starting a shorter woke me up so that here I am at 4 am.
I am thinking about what I will do with my Fridays. A day of’ taking in’ rather then’ churning out’. I am imagining getting up only to make food and cups of coffee. I am imagining reading 6 Degrees by Mark Lynas, ‘Engaging with Climate Change‘ by Sally Weintrope and ‘The Craftsman’ by Richard Sennett all at the same time , all in one day.and remembering what I read. I am imagining watching the backlog of Ted Talks , browsing through my Flipboard app , reading Building Design, the Guardian and last week’s Observer. I imagine tweeting about it as I go along and finally learning what LinkedIn is all about.
Meanwhile a letter has arrived to confirm that we have been shortlisted for a very nice (paid) competition and that the briefing session is on…………..FRIDAY !
Spirits are high at 7.30 in the morning- most of us chose early start over a late finish.
We are also beginning to clamp down on unnecessary meetings. We have saved 16 hours of work just yesterday by not attending meetings where we could not add real value- we sorted what needed to be sorted on the phone instead. We also calculated a saving of £8 per week on Friday coffee/milk and Yorkshire Post!
I’m not really sure what I am going to do with an additional day off to make a long weekend. Right now I can think of more things that need to be done than 3 months of long weekends provide time for: After playing with Noah, DIY is very high on the list – not least ripping out my flat roof balcony and installing a new one as the last straw of a 6 year undying leak, stripping and repainting the stairs, building 3 sets of shelves, restaining the timber floors, sanding the painted in carpet fluff out of the skirting boards, insulating the spandrels throughout.
It’s about time I started getting through some of the vast numbers of books I purchase – for the most part these are large architectural monographs, reading them late at night after a hard days work [and in a general state of tiredness because of my newborn sons sleeping pattern been more than a bit different to mine] does not usually result in very much of the thought behind them sinking in. I think I completely read about 1 in 4 with the other 3 been skimmed.
Other thinsg I might do: Finish respraying/chroming the colnago and put it back together, replay Final Fantasy 7, get serious about my allotment, try not to spend more money online [I’m not making any savings at all from no commute].
I am considering trialing Friday as a non internet day in an effort to save money and get stuff done but I am not sure this can work with smartphones and potentially taking work emails etc.