Working a 5-day week in 4 – Why?

We at Bauman Lyons Architects, a small team of 10, have decided to try for 3 months to work a 38 hour week over 4 days on the same salary with the same benefits.

We will record our collective and individual experiences throughout this period and at the end review it all to see whether we wish to continue to work in such a way.

There are several reasons for wanting to do this…

Over the last 4 years, since the financial crash of 2008, parts of western society has been nudging towards a great shift of values away from consumerism in favour of a more meaningful balance between life & work. Think Tanks such as the New Economics Foundation (NEF) have developed new metrics for measuring wealth based on happiness rather than on GDP, developing a roadmap, ‘The Great Transition’, of how we might get there.

In the same period other major challenges have emerged: the real time impact of climate change, the rapid disappearance of middle class jobs, the rising costs of living – especially of energy and increasingly of food – and the loss of trust in our major institutions: politicians and financiers.

But also, in the same period, the developments in technology and social media have made working conditions more flexible.

There is a growing need to change many things and we are no longer looking towards government policy to do this. We want to test some of our own ideas about how to live better within our means.

We hope that by working as hard as we always have but in a shorter week of longer days it may allows each one of us more time with family, more time for developing individual interests, more time to grow & make and more time to enjoy it all.

We also hope that the reduced weekly commute will free up valuable time and bring financial benefits, that the longer days will enable us more peer-to-peer learning and that the culture of overtime in our profession will thus be challenged.

We expect many challenges.

Over the next 3 months we will blog about our experiences, ‘warts and all’.


6 thoughts on “Working a 5-day week in 4 – Why?

  1. chris maunder

    that’s a great idea and good on you all for challenging the convention. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on. I guess the key will be protecting the extra day off. Best of luck

    1. baumanlyons Post author

      Thank you for your comment. We are trying to protect the extra day nut already this week is proving difficult! But we are determined to make it work.
      More soon

  2. Ben Humphries

    A few of us at Architype, me included, also do this, and I love it! I spend Friday with my 22 month old and see my other daughter from 3.30 when she gets back from school rather than just arriving home to do bedtime. I am more productive and focused on the other 4 days, and generally feel more energised.

    I have been thinking though that there is an even more progressive step. In Norway, they have an 8-4 day every day, with ‘family time’ thereafter, and work a total of 35 hours. Some places there also finish at 1.30pm on Fridays. Productivity is high and people are happy, and I’ve been thinking maybe we should include this model in our upcoming business plan as a 3yr aspiration.

    Look forward to hearing how it goes for you there. All the best, Ben

    1. baumanlyons Post author

      Thank you for your comment- it is really apreciated.
      You are right- this is only the first step. But 2 days in we are already getting meeting requests for Fridays- it will take a while to chnage the system and our own habits.
      Keep in touch.

  3. Mary Black

    Hello Irena
    I think this is a brilliant, forward-thinking idea and hopefully one that lots of other organisations will put to the test, be they large, medium or small. Well done for some out-of-the-box thinking that is easy to implelement and has so many benefits.
    Mary Black


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