Id been daydreaming about a 4-day work week ever since I first heard it was a possibility. And when Andrew Barnes wrote his book 'The 4 Day Week' in 2020, I was lucky enough to snag an advance copy before it hit the shelves. I was hooked on the idea like a fish on a line.
After doing some research and talking to those who had already implemented it, I knew I would thrive on a 4-day week. I mean, who wouldn't want an extra day to themselves, am I right?
Fast forward three years, and I've been fortunate enough to trial it with my job. As a full-time working mum of three (one of whom is only 2 years old), I was finding it increasingly difficult to balance work and motherhood. I mean, there aren't enough hours in the week to be everything to everyone and still have a few minutes to think for yourself.
I was at my wit's end, ready to throw in the towel, when my boss suggested we try it. Thank goodness for great bosses with brilliant ideas!
Here's what I've learned about doing the 4-day week myself:
At work, I'm incredibly focused on getting all my tasks done. I work 10-hour days, 4 days a week. What I do is work 2 hours at home at night - which I absolutely love because that's the time I get to do a lot of my creative thinking without being disturbed by my team during the day. I call it my "Think Tank." And let's be real, who doesn't want to be their own boss and work from home in their pajamas, am I right?
I don't waste time at work. We all know what wasting time is, don't we? I get more done now than I did before because I'm no longer dilly-dallying on tasks. In fact, I'm pretty much a task-master now.
As a team, we have to work together to make sure all approvals for things are done before my Wednesday off. It's like a game of "Beat the Clock."
At home, I take Wednesday off. Hump day and the perfect day to take off as a mum. It's like a mini-vacation from life. You get to spend time ALONE, which is nearly impossible any other time. And let's be honest, if you're a mum, you know how rare it is to have some peace and quiet. Wednesday is like my own personal oasis in a desert of noise and chaos.
I have strict rules for this day. This day is for me, and I don't let anyone mess with it. I'm like a ninja when it comes to guarding my time. I use this day to exercise, spend time in a cafe, walk the beach (goal is 5km), and even take naps. Yes, you heard me right, I take naps. It's like being a kid again, but with more caffeine. (Catching up on sleep is hell important especially when you are up all night with little ones)
I have to work on something for myself, like writing or gardening. I break up the day with a schedule, so I stay active. However, every few weeks, I have a flat day and have been known to shut the world away, hop into bed, and binge-watch a show I've been dying to see. I mean, who doesn't want to spend a whole day in bed, watching Netflix and eating junk food? It's like the ultimate luxury.
And let me tell you, taking this day for myself has been a game-changer. It's made me a better mum and more present for my kids and husband. I feel like I'm coping better with the juggling act that is my life. My mental health is better, and I've had the headspace to work on me. In fact, I've been in a routine of 16/8 for 9 weeks now and have lost 10kg. I couldn't do that before because I had so many things in my head to remember about everything else, that I would put food in my mouth before remembering I am fasting. Months went by where every day I failed, but now I have the brain capacity to put me first.
So, if you're an employer or a manager, I would strongly encourage you to consider adopting a 4-day workweek. It's a win-win situation.
Your employees get more time for themselves and their families, and in return, they come back to work more refreshed, focused, and productive. And as for me, well, I'm a walking advertisement for it. My productivity has soared since I switched to a 4-day week. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try. Who knows, you might even get a day to binge-watch your favorite show guilt-free.
And let me add: this arrangement is not permanent. It could be taken away from me at any time, so I have to keep proving its viability for our business.
This is a pretty good incentive for me to continue putting myself first and maintaining high productivity. Plus, who knows? If it works well for me, maybe it could work well for your employees too. Just think of all the happy, well-rested faces around the office. It's a win-win situation.
So why not give it a try?
The worst that could happen is you end up with a rested and motivated workforce. And let's be real, who doesn't want that?