Company tries four-day work-week, discovers only upsides


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/10/work-smarter-not-harder.html


#2

Staff stress levels decreased by seven percentage points across the board as a result of the trial, while stimulation, commitment and a sense of empowerment at work all improved significantly, with overall life satisfaction increasing by five percentage points.

Dang, those Kiwi’s have really got it down.


#3

replying to wrong post


#4

This is why the only truly ¡DISRUPTIVE! companies come out of America! Statistics be damned, we know how to grind people down with unrealistic expectations and horrifying workloads so that the cream rises to the top. Like churning butter… out of humans.


#5

I work four days a week. It’s pretty nice. I schedule all appointments for that day, have time to go shopping, get stuff done around the house, and occasionally get out for something fun. It is classified as part time so I’m not banking the same amount of leave or contributing as much to my savings, but I’m on my wife’s insurance, so that’s covered. And I don’t think I get a whole lot less done than if I was full-time…except for days when I checking bb too much.


#6

This is awesome. All companies should feel free to adopt this, or not.


#7

Investment advisors, yea. This might not work out as well in retail.


#8

As this hits the MSM in the U.S. I’m sure plenty of conservatives here will find downsides, just as they have with things like single-payer universal health insurance and free or subsidised post-secondary education. Most likely whingeing about the decline of morality and the Protestant work ethic in the West or (of course) those darned Millenials.

Any measure that frees human resources/consumers from fear and debt and needless subservience to corporations is one that conservatives and capital-L Libertarians will work vigorously to oppose every time.


#9

My problem with that concept is probability of ending up in situation where you get paid for 4 days of office and stil be expected to do 5 days worth of work. No drop in efficiency means no deadline got moved. Also I am expected to pay the same old rent for 4x7 days. That 20% hit on salary is a deal breaker. Incidentally, this is the main reason why managers like the idea. In theory they boost “efficiency” by up to 20%, i.e. get job done at up to 20% discount.

This company kept salary levels the same for the duration of the experiment, but I bet that this wouldn’t be handled in quite the same way in most places, if this trend catches on. Especially in the long run.


#10

Probably because most of us with office jobs are only doing a couple hours of real work a day. Keynes’ 15 hour work weeks are here, we’ve just decided as a culture to pretend otherwise.


#11

It’s not really clear in the snippet, but what PG have done is really quite interesting. The staff are being paid for 40 hours, and actually working 32 hours. I don’t know how it affects their leave entitlement of 4 or 5 weeks - I assume they get 16 or 20 days instead of 20 or 25, since they’re getting the 5th day each week already? The ‘no drop in productivity’ comment means that the company is getting as much total work done with staff working 32hrs as they’d previously gotten done in 40 hours.

And, let’s face it: 40hours is a completely arbitrary number. There’s nothing magical about it which makes it the ‘correct’ amount of hours to be sat at a desk each week. The company wants shit done. “Get your shit done, then go home” seems to be the corporate mantra here.

Good
On
Them
!

Meanwhile, I’ll be working this weekend, and next … :confused:


#12

I know my wife worked part time - 3 and then 4 days a week - in an office for many years. She was certain that she was dramatically more productive when she knew she had limited time to get things done.

The other 10 hours a week, in office jobs at least, are mostly spent checking emails and going to pointless meetings. Having a need for time efficiency would make everything better.


#13

:rofl: wanting workers to be happy and have free time…don’t be too hard on them, they are still in mid-stage capitalism and don’t know they are doing capitalism wrong.

“happiness and free time are for the select few, everyone else should be worked hard enough to not be able to consider their plight but not so hard as to rebel. real capitalism is hard work and tastes of misery, that’s how you know you got the good uncut stuff.” -America “Home of the FREE 99% OFF™”

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: i kid. i think that this sounds like a huge improvement in quality of life and am fully for it.


#14

As a potential employer, I really like the idea of paying someone for a job instead of for their time. Here are the tasks I need you to accomplish. Do them well and efficiently and the rest of your life is yours.


#15

Yeah, conceptually it is a flat out wonderful idea. But I can see loads of potential fish hooks exploited and gamed by both sides. As shitty and arbitrary as 40 hours is, at least it’s a common, known, and understood benchmark. Even most labour laws, AFAICT, are based around the explicit or implicit assumption that people will work 40 hours.

Good on PG for trying something different. I wish them and their employees every success and happiness in this.


#16

It’s probably a smashing idea. That doesn’t mean it ought to be mandatory for companies to do this.


#17

I didn’t say it should be. What I did say is that conservatives and Libertarian will fight to make sure the four-day work week doesn’t become any kind of standard in the industrialised West.


#18

That, or you could go “agile” and force people to break everything down into tiny, disconnected tasks which are useless on their own, to specify them in the infantile manner necessary to have each of them approved by marketing, first thing in the morning have everybody stand up in front of the team and report on which tasks they completed, punish those who work effectively by cramming more tasks into their pipeline, and those who reach their limit by offshoring key parts of their project?


#19

Yes original article makes it clearer. But the thing is this is not the first time I see texts about this concept and more often than not it involves some sneaky way to cut on salary, benefits or what not. You are totally right about 40 being arbitrary numbe, as well as 35. The trick is in transition. Temporarily using 40 as guideline for one thing and 35 for another. In any case, I hope my suspicion are unfounded, but let’s see. Maybe I’m to jaded. Sorry to hear you have to work on weekends btw.


#20

It’s a great idea if there is a clear and commonly understood definition of when is the job done. Like unloading a truck for example.

It becomes much less clear quickly when it comes to creative work. When are the art assets for a project done? When artists feels they are done? When customer feels they are done? Will these two things coincide ever?

It boils down to paying for time when it comes to service jobs. Like for example waiting tables at a restaurant.