Four-Hour Work Weeks: Are they for you?

My day job has a lot of perks. Great location, fun co-workers, individual health insurance and flexible hours.

Flexible hours or flex time is becoming increasingly popular in work places. At my office we work four ten-hour shifts; meaning I get a three day weekend every weekend. And I absolutely adore it. But while most of the office loves the work schedule, there are a few who do not. Here are the pros and cons of a shortened work week with longer daily hours.

  • Cuts down on vacation days. Most employees use their vacation days to extend a longer weekend to become a vacation. But with a three day weekend already in place, it allows employees to not have to use an extra vacation day if they base their time off around the weekend. They can get a four day weekend if they base their vacation around a holiday. Double whammy. This makes for a happy and well rested employee. Win-win.
  • Big savings. Offices see huge savings in building operation costs just by eliminating one day a week of electricity, heating and other bills. This allows companies to funnel those savings into other more necessary items. (i.e. salaries or discounts to customers.)
  • A lot can happen on a Friday. While I use my Fridays to get my chores done so I can play all weekend, my co-worker uses Fridays to work at his second job. This allows him time to supplement his income (he just added a new baby to his family. babies= money) with an extra job where he would not have been able to if he worked the regular five day work week.
  • Increased productivity. I hit my down turn around 4 p.m. Instead of hitting that 5 times a week, I only get it four times and I push through long enough to get my second wind for my last two hours of work. Because I know that I only work for four days my mind is constantly trying to get things done by the end of the shortened week. It might be a mind game, but it helps me produce results.

Now for the cons.

  • Lack of productivity. Some argue that employees get too tired after working 10 hour days and will risk being burnt out. I definitely have had burnt out days, but I felt the same way with other jobs. As along as I take a proper lunch break, I can power through and make it a productive day.
  • Loss of customer service. If your office offers some sort of service to the public, your customers might be angry to find out you are not open on Fridays (or your regular day). Places like the DMV and other public service offices would actually be doing the public a disservice by not offering the services needed. My office has a few employees who choose to work on Fridays to serve certain customers. Some work Tuesday through Friday, and others alternate their shifts. But either way, we figure out a way to serve our public.