Is The Four Day Week A Good Idea?

When I first started looking into the four day week it seemed like a good idea, but recently it got me thinking and now I ask myself “Is The Four Day Week A Good Idea?”

I think not.

Let me explain.

If the reason that people work is to pass a specific amount of time most days in a particular environment then measuring work by defining the work week is fine. We can then satisfactorily say that someone who works fifty hours works harder and is a better employee than someone who works forty hours and so on. Lazy and ineffective management have been using this as a measure for years. Just look at the “nobody goes home before the boss” culture that has grown up in so many companies.

Surely what we should be measuring is “has the work been done?”

Years ago I worked with an organisation where one of the salesmen spent at least half the week on the golf course as that was his passion. The other salespeople complained bitterly that they were working so much harder than he was and so it was not fair. The response from the boss was that he did not care if someone worked one hour a week or one hundred hours a week. All that mattered is that they got the job done and this chap sold more in two and a half days than any other salesperson did in a week. He also always hit his agreed targets.

In a previous blog I made the challenge of working a thirty hour week –¬†

I tried, I failed.

In order to be effective I need to work in the best way to achieve the output, not to confine myself to thirty hours or four days. Does that mean I have given up on the four day week? – not at all. The trick is to work when you are effective and don’t work at all other times. That way you can achieve your objectives without working seventy hours a week every week and average the most effective number of hours.

So, why do people say four days? Why not three and a quarter or two and seven eighths? Let’s talk to the bees:

The bee hive works when it needs to. On a warm summer day with good light and an excellent nectar flow the bees will start early, work all day and finish late. On a cold or wet day, or during the whole of the winter when flowers are scarce and hence work limited, they will rest. In other words they work the hours that are required to get the job done and match resources to ensure the hive is efficient and does not burn out.

The problem is that this is much more difficult to plan than simply telling people to work set hours. What we need in the current environment is a flexible workforce and a flexible business using flexible resources. Not one that is based on a simple but, for most businesses, irrelevant measure (time).

Difficult to achieve – yes, but if a bee can do it why can’t we?

The rewards are proven.

If you want to look at this further we have both manufacturing and service simulations to enable everyone to be more effective then please contact us for details –¬†

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