Would a 4-day work week really help with stress and work-life balance? — R Voice

Would a 4-day work week really help with stress and work-life balance?

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin
edited September 2021 in Self-care & Wellbeing

Of late, I've been coming across a few articles and social media threads talking about companies moving to a four-day work week to help reduce their employees' stress levels and help them achieve better work-life balance. This led me to think of whether and how feasible this might be if ever applied to an academic setup.

Personally, I'm not sure if it would be a realistic model. I started thinking of my own situation and realized that if I did move to a 4-day work week, things wouldn't seem as rosy as an extra day or rest or recreation. I'd probably end up trying to cram 5 days worth of work into 4 days and end up even more stressed / exhausted. 😕

What do you guys think? Are you in favor or a 4-day work week? If it was up to you, how many days in a week would you ideally like to work? Let's discuss!

Comments

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a tough one. I like the idea of a 4-day work week right now, but my days aren't super packed and so it would be nice to have an extra day off guilt-free rather than feeling like I need to fill it. Having said that, if I'm super busy with deadlines etc I don't think a 4-day work week would help me..I'd then feel more stressed about trying to cram everything in I think? I guess I won't truly know unless I try it?!

    I think the main thing is that there needs to a consistent mentality to it, particularly in transition. No.."oh but you used to work five days so can't you just do X..it won't take long?" I also feel like everyone needs the same 3 days off, in a department/company so no-one is pressured to work when they aren't on a work day.

    It's something I'd love to try, so that I can see how it goes.

  • chris leonard
    chris leonard Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 168 admin

    I don't think you're being aspirational enough. What about a 3-day week?

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @chris leonard - how about the weekends being for work and the weeks being for fun?

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin
  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin

    Hahahah @Shruti Turner I'm not saying I wouldn't be open to trying this. Also, where do I sign? :P

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin

    Great point about there being consistency to everyone's work-week across a company or at least a department @Shruti Turner. I can foresee several issues otherwise. There might also need to be some expectation-setting with regard to setting up meetings on days when everyone is working and scheduling deadlines while taking the "actual" number of working days into consideration and not just saying things like "get this done. you have 2 weeks. it should be enough". The two weeks might just be 6 or 7 days.

    I feel like I'm so used to my work-week right now that the guilt of not being productive on that one day might really bother me for a while, maybe only until I get into the swing of the new setup.

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes - I agree with all of what you've said..there definitely needs to be a bigger picture plan in place before a work day shift can happen with maximum benefit I think. @Andrea Hayward - I think we should run the world together. We would be well organised and there would be beautiful stationery!

    I think the personal adjustment is a big one actually, I didn't think about that..I was more excited at the prospect. I feel like institutional "rules" would help me, personally. I don't like breaking the rules ha It would definitely be a transition period!

  • Adaora Anyichie - Odis
    Adaora Anyichie - Odis Member Posts: 128 ✭✭✭✭

    I think working half day on Friday plus 8 hours Monday - Thursday is good.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin
    edited September 2021

    Hahah @Shruti Turner I am so down for this running the world together plan. I bet we'd have special days to celebrate different kinds of stationery (jackpot!) 😄. And hopefully, with our combined energy, we could also make the world a much kinder place. 🙂

    The personal adjustment is what I'm most concerned about. You'd think that switch would be the easiest to make since it's under our control, but I think it's a lot more complicated than that (maybe just in my head). Institutional rules seems like an interesting loophole 🤔

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 941 admin

    @Adaora Anyichie - Odis I am loving all your comments and suggestions today! 8 hours Monday through Thursday and working for the first half only on a Friday seems like something I could get on board with. The weekend would start earlier for one, without any of the feelings of guilt I think I'd experience if I didn't work a all on a Friday. This smaller transition might just be the key to getting comfortable with a 4-day work week sometime later in the future. I'd definitely be open to trying this out!