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Fancy a four day working week?

Longer hours in return for a longer weekend. Would you prefer a four day working week?

Published on October 29th 2009.

Fancy a four day working week?
Yes: - 91%
No: - 9%

It worked in Utah in the US, but could the 10 hour day, four day working week, three day weekend formula work here in the UK, replacing the 9-5 model?In the summer of 2008, the governor of Utah made the decision to turn the week as Utah residents knew it on its head. His hopes were to improve work-life balance, reduce energy costs and improve air quality with a day less of commuting.

The success of the trial of a 10/4 week (that’s working 10 hours a day, four days a week) initially received stalemate feedback from workers in the state, with only 52 per cent in favour, but by the end of the year this figure had risen to 82 per cent. The experiment also proved favourable when it came to the governor’s state issues. Utah saved around $5m in total during the trial which included $500,000 less to heat and cool buildings and $250,000 less in janitorial services.

Back to reality in the UK and business hours are 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. When it comes to Bank Holiday weekends, we can’t get enough of them but we make do with just eight. It’s widely believed that as a nation, we actually work harder to get jobs done before a break and we’re also more likely to be keener employees having had that well earned rest. A shorter working week would motivate staff and make our days more productive. That’s one less day of unnecessary meetings and an extra day of good old R&R, which would benefit our health. Those that work flexi-time will no doubt agree that working hours more fitting to your personal life are of huge value.

But ditching the 9-5 might not work for everyone. Let’s bear in mind childcare arrangements which wouldn’t allow for an 8am-6pm day. As much as we moan about all work and no play, it’s no secret that as a society we always want more - more money, more time, more fun, more days off. The 10/4 pattern is just a way of shifting the work/life balance as opposed to correcting it, besides which, we’ll still want more anyway. A five day week becomes four, becomes three. Where do we draw the line?

Health-wise, it's far from balanced. Cramming five days work into four could actually become more stressful, therefore ruining the new extended weekend? Worse still, we could just end up working more over time, and so the stress cycle continues.

It’s clear to see that the 10/4 week could work for some and not for others, but could it work for you? Vote on the homepage.

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30 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

Is that how it works in the Confidential office then, will Gordo be leading by example?

CasOctober 29th 2009.

If my staff could do the work they do in four days then I'd be happy to pay them for five. However the problem is, every business would have to go that way to make it practical for companies like ours. So it aint going to happen. Customers expect to be able to get hold of us and I don't think they'd understand if we just said we'd changed the hours they could, the flip side of that is staggering it but that would create a whole host of problems.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

I don't see how changing the working hours for a load of cowboys, shoe-smiths and Madams can be extrapolated out and applied to jobs in other countries.

DidsburyGirlOctober 29th 2009.

I used to do 4 ten hour day shifts at The Co-operative Insurance, Working 10am-8pm Mon-Thurs and having Friday off. There was another shift of 8am-6pm also, which you could work. I think it works in that company as I was working in a customer service capability and the demand was there. I don't know if it would work in say, an administrative post, as a lot of the other offices you would have to deal with may not work those hours. Overall though, I do miss working those hours! sigh....

HelOctober 29th 2009.

Manchester is quite an outward looking place - a business can only close on a Friday if all its customers and suppliers are also off on Friday and that's never going to happen when we deal with the rest of the UK and indeed the world. Having said that earlier in the year I did 4 day week (with resultant less pay) as a cost saving measure and I loved it.

AliceOctober 29th 2009.

Um. Unless you were working very close to your job a 10hr working day leaves little free time to relax during the work week. For me that would be a killer, I need "me* time in the evenings. I'd like an extra day at weekends but not at the cost of losing my unwind time in the evenings during the week.

SozzleOctober 29th 2009.

Same for me as Alice, I prefer working less and being lazy more.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

We should without doubt move to a 4 day working week. But we shouldn't have to work harder Mon - Thurs to make up the 'missing' hours. Companies and governments never should have gotten themselves so out of balance in the first place, with 5 days off and 2 days on. The balance should be readdressed slowly over the coming years with all nations agreeing to apply the rule and slow things down a little and stop being so f**king greedy! The only reason we're in this pickle is because most businesses can't bear to see anyone else squeezing more out of something than they can, I'm surprised that we don't all works Saturdays as well to be honest. 3 days off a week is absolutely reasonable, especially given that most of us work for the majority of our lives...

GrahamOctober 29th 2009.

Imagine the positive effect this could have on commuter traffic in terms of both environment and congestion.It won't happen though. Employers expect most staff to start early and finish late 5 days a week and if this makes the company competitive it's hard to argue in many respects.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

WHy does everyone have to have the same 3 days off? surely if people were allowed more flexibility within thier jobs productivity would increase and there would be no need to close for an extra day - some people might prefer Friday off, but some might rather a Monday, or a Wednesday to break the week up. 4 day working week would be brilliant!

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

Unfortunately, this would never work in this country where greedy bosses want us to work as many hours as they can get out of us for as little expenditure as possible. I used to work in a job that should have been 9 to 5 but they expected you to be in just after 8 and work until the "satisfactory" completion of your day's work - which was never ending. Workers in the UK work more hours than any of our counterparts in Europe with the bulk of it at no extra cost to our bosses - why would they change that?

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.


Stephen NewtonOctober 29th 2009.

During the 3-day week of the 1970s, many workplaces went to 12 hour days, so 36 hours instead of 40.It proved popular with many and there was talk of keeping it on in some places.

east lancsOctober 29th 2009.

I work 10 hours, 6 days a week. Although at the moment that's principally cos I've cocked up a timescale estimate ;o)

DescartesOctober 29th 2009.

There's always one isn't there? Some grandiose person that claims they work more than everyone else in the planet. I bet you wait for the boss to leave and then go straight after.

ChickOctober 29th 2009.

We have not had a 9 to 5 work culture in this country for years. We are now a 24/7 society. So, if we drop down to a 4 day week, what happens to hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, supermarkets, airlines, public transport etc.? More staff will be needed to cover those working only four days, resulting in higher costs which will be passed on to the customer/consumer. How would those people working only four days feel if they could not do their weekly shop, get on a train, go to the cinema or eat in a restaurant? Nice idea, but no way would it work. Personally, I'd love to do a 5 day week.

Jammie dodgerOctober 29th 2009.

Like east lancs you mean? Yawn. What is it, 4.5m people out of work, some people just don't know how lucky they are, and here's you lot barking on about changing your working day to get an extra day off, shame, shame on you all.

SozzlesOctober 29th 2009.

. . . and because you spend all your time ranting on here east lancs!!!

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

lots of people work flexibly in the service industries. But is does not mean a ten hour/4day week pattern in a 9 to 5 way. However such flexibility may not suit many people who want a rigid work/leisure life pattern often dull work and dull leisure and rigid 'family' roles too. I trust those of both sexes on the fifth day will enough taking the kids to school, shopping in the butchers discussed elsewhere in Man Con and cooking up a fabulous meal etc.

Waterhead mastersOctober 29th 2009.

At Baesystems Woodford this is already the case working 37 hours monday to Thursday plus O/T if you want to do it. Start at 7-00am (miss Rush Hour) fininsh at 6-45pm with 2 hours O/T (miss rush hour) and a nice long 3 day weekend best thing ever.

BeccaOctober 29th 2009.

Hell, no. I find it hard enough getting to work (10 mins away from my flat) by 9:30. I think it'd be physically impossible for me to get up any earlier.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

This country is too greedy.I was speaking to a director the other day who took pleasure in telling me that he does no running about in the office... as he has a 17 year old office junior on £2.00 per hour doing it all for him, and told me they are the scivvy not me !Not only is that illegal as far as I know.. but just heartless and cruel.That is the world we live in I'm afraid !

NoMoreInsideJobsOctober 29th 2009.

Clearly most people work such long hours it interfers with their home/family lives...then others dont work at all....we need as a society to move to more flexible working. The 9-5 thing causes bottlenecks on trains and roads and is inefficient.

MooMooOctober 29th 2009.

I'm up for a 4 day week. Life is all work and no play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will probably be retiring at 70 the way things are going then its too late to do all the things you want to do (you have the time on your hands but not he energy or have health problems)!

M DOctober 29th 2009.

4 day on, 3 day off...i've been bitchin for this to happen for years!Bring it on, you know it makes sense.

LiamOctober 29th 2009.

Well I thought most people had to put in 10hour days to keep their head above water in the recession anyway. I can't remember the last time I spoke to anyone who had a 9-5 job! I don't fancy 15 hours for 4 days.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

I've thought for some time that a 4 day week would be beneficial for all, either working full-time hours over 4 days or working 28 hours each week (and obviously getting paid for 4/5 of a week instead of full time. I realise many could not afford it, but I think it should be available if you want to take advantage of it. I've worked 28 hours a week for the last 5 years and really enjoy having a better work/life balance. It's especially good for those who have families or perhaps who are getting near to retirement. And it shares the jobs out a bit more. Bring it on for everyone - it just takes more intelligent timetabling - like already mentioned, the extra day off could be any day of the week.

John HydeOctober 29th 2009.

Great - I already do in 4 days what takes others 5 days to do. Would be nice to work & leisure time accordingly.

Jimbo, DidsburyOctober 29th 2009.

Need to sort out all those school hols as well. We no longer need our children to work in the fields getting the harvest in so longer winter hols (saving companies leccy bills, etc) & shorter summer hols (after all have long light evenings anyway). Also football clubs who think you still start work @ 16 need to change their pricing policy to reflect that our future employees might not start work until 20+ & should change their prices to suit.

Ali McGowanOctober 29th 2009.

10/4/3 = awesome idea. Bring it on, in workplaces where it WOULD work. Course it won't work for every firm, but it would work for some... jeez, trial it!! And stop being so negative, jammie dodger.

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