5in4: Wk00/01 – LC

What my commute usually looks like

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.