I’m Matt, associate at Bauman Lyons, aged 33 and living with my fiancée in our own home in Huddersfield with our 10 month old baby boy & our new au-pair Lucy.
For me the scenario will be slightly different to the rest of the office as I have already been working a reduced week (4 days in 3 long ones to be roughly accurate) for about a year now and as such have begun to realise just how significant a difference this can make in both obvious and unexpected ways. However, what is most surprising now is that it’s things that were completely unexpected that have become amongst the most valued to us.
Less working time means less income but that hasn’t necessarily meant less money. We obviously have been saving on travel costs, childcare and so on, but it’s the small things that have really contributed to us actually having more money in the end, rather than less. Or at least that’s how it feels! One thing’s for sure though: we are certainly living richer lives for it.
The small things that have made the difference weren’t quite so obvious at first and have generally come about through our change in circumstances. The first one we recognised (which came about through me giving my fiancée a lift to work, already +£1.50 in our pockets, saved from the bus fare) was just how good the local weekday market is. I can’t believe how awful the fruit & veggies have become at big supermarkets and how much we’re shelling out for them. We’re now paying a lot less for a lot tastier produce, eating healthier and generally behaving more sustainably – supporting local business and even beginning to realise what’s in season, not because we’re reading up on it but because it’s reflected in the prices! I’m sure this is stuff my Grandma used to know! Who’d have thought??!!
I should also say that the reason I can give my fiancée a lift is because we work slightly more flexible hours (a 9.30 start instead of 9am for me), which has literally revolutionised our mornings, especially since having a baby. Such a small change as this, has meant less time sat on the motorway – as I now miss the worst of the rush hour traffic – therefore enabling me not only to drop-off my fiancée at her workplace on my way to mine, but above all it has enabled us, as a family, to have breakfast all together. I can’t quantify how important this is to us – not least because this is the only time I would get to see my son on a work day, as I wouldn’t normally get home before he was in bed. How about that??!!
• 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?
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??
I’m not really sure what I am going to do with an additional day off to make a long weekend. Right now I can think of more things that need to be done than 3 months of long weekends provide time for: After playing with Noah, DIY is very high on the list – not least ripping out my flat roof balcony and installing a new one as the last straw of a 6 year undying leak, stripping and repainting the stairs, building 3 sets of shelves, restaining the timber floors, sanding the painted in carpet fluff out of the skirting boards, insulating the spandrels throughout.
It’s about time I started getting through some of the vast numbers of books I purchase – for the most part these are large architectural monographs, reading them late at night after a hard days work [and in a general state of tiredness because of my newborn sons sleeping pattern been more than a bit different to mine] does not usually result in very much of the thought behind them sinking in. I think I completely read about 1 in 4 with the other 3 been skimmed.
Other thinsg I might do: Finish respraying/chroming the colnago and put it back together, replay Final Fantasy 7, get serious about my allotment, try not to spend more money online [I’m not making any savings at all from no commute].
I am considering trialing Friday as a non internet day in an effort to save money and get stuff done but I am not sure this can work with smartphones and potentially taking work emails etc.