If you’re British and are old enough, the phrases three- or four-day week are not happy ones. They were borne of bad times when the economy was rough and companies were in trouble. That never happens now.
But it’s a term with bad connotations because it was a time when firms couldn’t afford to pay people for a whole week so they had to work three or four days instead. And there’s another way.
Hopefully there’s another way. Ryan Carson of the technology firm Treehouse proposes that maybe we can work four days a week and do more with it. He’s not trying to save money: you get paid your full, normal salary, you just don’t work five days a week. It sounds like he’s a productivity guru looking for a startling yet appealing angle, but the fella has his reasons and he’s put them to work: this is genuinely how his company is run.
What’s more, he wrote about it in his company blog, The Naive Optimist, more than a year ago and they sky hasn’t fallen under the weight of all that pie. I learnt of this through 99U which singles out his particular post about why he does this and specifically what has happened because of it.
There is a part of me that shudders at the notion. I love working, I don’t understand how to relax. But I am also very much an advocate of spending the right time on something: working for the sake of it is a waste of time, time that you could be spending working on other things. So I’m drawn to this and I admit you that I am persuaded by his reasoning and his results.