Category Archives: Clients & Partners

2 months update /// Wife of TV

At first I thought “this is great’: the extra time together, the possibility of reducing child care costs and no more unpaid overtime. Like many architects, architecture is more than a job for my husband. I could describe it as a hobby but that would undervalue it. My husband would frequently come home for tea and then head back to work, disrupt a weekend by having to go into work for the day or get stressed because it was hectic juggling his social life and work. If he wasn’t working in the evening then quite often he would be looking at architecture blogs, websites or reading architectural books (or maybe just looking at the grey photos!). I understand that architects love architecture, they have to in order to work all the additional thankless hours but this knocks on to their family. That is why the shorter week appealed. It raised the possibility of my husband having more free time away from his job to enjoy what he wanted to do that wasn’t architecture and might end the common nag “can we just not do anything this weekend”.

After my initial positivity the unknowns began to surface. Would my husband get home in time for bedtime? How much additional stress would there be by squeezing the working week into four days? Would he be able to leave work at work? The list went on. Reflecting on the past couple of months, its difficult to form a clear opinion of the shorter working week because we were already in a state of flux because of a new baby. Some things are definite though; lengthening the weekend has made it more relaxed. We’ve got time to sit still between activities but have also made the most of the free weekday. However, overtime has not disappeared and, whilst my husband is getting used to the shorter week, completing his weekly tasks plays on his mind when he is at home. We’re fortunate that we live a short distance from his office and he can come home for his lunch. If he had to commute half an hour then he wouldn’t see our son awake Monday to Thursday and I would be pulling my hair out! I think being in close proximity to the office means that we have benefited more than staff that travel a long distance to work.

Wife of TV

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Wk00/01 – SW

Thoughts:

• Part of working efficiently is to know when to abstain from things which are a waste of time.
• Reduced hours places a greater impetus on effective working and as such a regular (and dynamic, changing) assessment of personal work-planning, team resource-planning, what actions to take/not take; becomes very important.
• Which means lots of sleep and coffee!! (Or vitamin B…)
• In the first week however, it seems to have made us cheerful and motivated.
• A question in my mind: how will it work if/when Clients demand a presence on Fridays? Occasional will be OK, but do we make a stand and say that we don’t work Fridays if pushed? Or can we negotiate and reason our free time when challenged?

SOME CONTEXT:

In June 2011:
• There were 31million workforce jobs in the UK, shared by 29million people.
• 21million people were working full-time (of them 4million were self-employed).
• 8million people were working part-time & 1.5million people were working on a temporary basis.
• Of those 21million people who work full-time posts flexitime is an available feature (eg for Civil Servants, Public Servants, Self-employed and a range of other Private Sector jobs).
• What would happen if all the rest of the full-time employed workers changed hours to 5in4…? Would it change expectations of availability??