As I’m about to begin Wk04, I’m starting to realise that even my 4in3 is proving tougher than I thought. Perhaps I was being too optimistic?
With the 4in3 format I’m working in the office two days a week with one day then worked from home.
I actually really miss that office interaction over three days.
Another thing I realised is that with the 10hrs day, which means I don’t return home till very late, I’ve been missing simple but important things in life like friends’ birthdays. In this month alone I missed two dinners because while the others met after work, which for them meant 7pm, I couldn’t make it anytime before 9pm. One may say that missing a birthday dinner is not the end of the world, but life is made special by small things and friends’ birthdays (especially those who are more like family than just friends) are one of those important ‘little’ things that enrich life.
I am also so tired by the time I get home that those two days (10 hours plus commute time) worked in the office, on a private/personal level they don’t exist as I simply.just.’work’.*
I’m starting to appreciate and value even more than before the reasons why a working day has been set as 7.5hours. There is something vital about being able to balance life and work everyday not just on the day ‘off’.
Could the 8am-3pm day (over a ‘normal’ week) that Cedric Price advocated (already implemented in other countries) work better? Or even the good old 9till5 where you are able to truly clock off at 5pm (which has never happened in all my career life so far, due to the nature of the profession).
When I was very young, still a student, I had a classic interview where I was told that ‘you can’t practice architecture part time’. I begged to differ and I’m glad that 10+ years on the conversation is including and extending to the value of part time, yes even in architecture. But at this moment in time I’m not sure the right balance lies in the 4in3 model.
I’m learning that the 4in3 and even more so the 5in4 may render ‘flexibility’ even harder if not impossible to achieve. Because once you’ve worked 10 hours, there’s little flexibility left in the day to ‘play with’.
I may change my mind again as we progress with our trial. And this is what this trial is about, challenging ourselves to find a better life-balance that the current set up may or may not offer us.
*I am aware that this is unique to my situation as I’m the only one of BLA that lives the furthest from the office.
– two days in office only also makes it hard to cross with directors, as they have the busiest schedule. This makes it harder for project and design reviews to take place in good time for meeting deadlines.
– the two-days only spent in the office, make time feel very rushed.