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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 November 3rd 2009.


Fancy a four day working week?
Yes: - 54%
No: - 46%

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 just can’t get enough of them but we make do with 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, also benefiting our health. Those that work flexi-time will no doubt agree that working hours more fitting to your personal life are of huge benefit.

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

The WorkerOctober 29th 2009.

Why can't we just have the same number of bank holidays as our more civilised cousins in Europe and spend less time emulating the backward United States for a change? The Americans have a death penalty, 2,000,000+ in prison 6,000,000+ unemployed, 35,000,000+ below the poverty line and no health service. Gun crime is rife, the schools are failing and the whole place riven with violent bigotry and prejudice. If the place is so great that we must always copy it, why do so many of them choose to live over here?

Penny LaneOctober 29th 2009.

It doesn't mention that most Americans only get ten days paid holiday a year so they'd be desperate for extra time off, even working extra hours at the expense of their health for this mad idea.

DigOctober 29th 2009.

I'd be happy to work a 10/5. Although considering I regularly do around 11/6 I'm not complaining. This job is a doddle compared to most. I'd rather do 11/6 doing this than an 8/5 hours in a factory. Right, I'm off into the city centre for some lunch and a walk around the shops.

Dig's Japanese slavemasterOctober 29th 2009.

You're fired!

DigOctober 29th 2009.

Fired? ****. Erm, excuse me Mark.......

Modern slaveOctober 29th 2009.

Many of us work God knows how many hours in underpaid overtime. The thought of a strict 9-5 job, 5 days a week would be great, but not practical for many. A four day a week job would solve that little problem nicely, thank you very much. And remember this, UK workers do more unpaid overtime that any other works in the EU. We really are modern slaves in the UK.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2009.

We need our own Spartacus...

Rufus T. FireflyOctober 29th 2009.

If the workers want shorter hours, we'll give them shorter hours. We'll start by cutting their lunch hour to 20 minutes.

The WorkerOctober 29th 2009.

This is inevitably where this sort of thing leads!

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