26 June 2008

Workweek Nirvana

The traditional 40-hour workweek calls for 8 hours of work per day for five days - Mondays through Fridays.

I've heard that some Corporate Cubicle Land type places have started offering workweeks that allow three-day weekends every other week. It calls for 9 hours of work on Mondays through Thursdays, then 8 hours or 0 hours on alternating Fridays.

Then there's my plan. 10 hours per day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays off. It doesn't sound all that palatable at first glance, especially to those accustomed to the traditional five day workweek, because who wants to work 10 hours per day when 8 hours is already too long?

But it's not like that at all. First, it actually isn't a five-day workweek. It's 2 two-day workweeks with two "weekends." What that means is, I don't suffer the weekly mini-burnout encapsulated by the "Thank God It's Friday!" concept. At all. There's no time for it to set in because each workweek is over after two days. Those two extra hours per day aren't even noticeable.

Aside from the mental breaks, I'm also not trying to figure out how to cram odd errands around town into the beginnings and ends (and in many peoples' cases lunches) of the workdays. Those errands happen because many places aren't open on weekends, which means they must be done during a workday - but I don't have that problem because I have a full day to take care of them all at once on Wednesdays.

In short, I get a LOT more work done while I'm at work because I'm focused on work. I'm not distracted by other things I need to do, and my mind stays well-rested. My employers get more bang for their buck. Everybody wins. :)


kimby said...

Our midnight crew has the benefit of having a 4 day on 4 day off schedule. We do 10 hr shifts...but we do them on a rotating basis (this week i start on Friday night, next week Saturday night etc)
I love having those days off..it is like a mini vacation every week. Bonus for employee and employer..cause a happy worker is a productive worker!

Random Michelle K said...

I have several friends who work the 4/5/9 schedule. And one friends temporarily worked the 4/10s schedule. Only they go for the long weekends instead of the break in the middle.

As much as I'd like a long weekend, I couldn't do it, because after 8 hours I've had enough. :)

Unknown said...

So have you sold your employer on this schedule? Or is it an option offered, or what?

John the Scientist said...

Well there's always the grad student schedule: 6 days a week of 10 hour days, followed by a half-day on Sunday.

God, I'm glad I'm a corporate drone, now.

MWT said...

What? You had half a day off on Sundays?? Lucky!


Kimby: my current workplace is extremely casual about everything. It's up to my boss what the exact rules are, and he's a bit of a pushover, so basically it's up to me what the rules are. ;) So long as I get 40 hours worth of work done per week, I can do whatever I want. I pretty much just told him one day "I think I'm going to try out this schedule now, see if I can save some gas." Now I'm not going back...

It also helps that I finally quit the takeout job. Previously I was working all 7 days and never had time to do anything. Now I finally feel like I'm getting caught up on stuff.

MWT said...

Err, the above was actually addressed to Brenda rather than Kimby. Though in retrospect it works as a response to Kimby too. :)

Anonymous said...

My employer is completely flexible - but won't go for this because they expect long hours more often than not. They won't agree to 9x9s with 1 off when they routinely get 10 x 9s (or more) with none off.

At the same time, I can take time off during the day for whatever I need as long as I meet my work commitments. (I rarely do.) I also never have to punch a time clock. The big thing is that I have to deliver results.

I hope the flextime works out for you!