Pros/cons of working compressed hours?
Just after some feedback on the idea of going from a 5 day week to a 4 day week, doing the same hours… Currently working the same sort of hours as this would be, but effectively doing extra hours for no recompense. I’d like to use the time to give my other half a chance to do something other than look after tiboy junior, so I’d use the day off to lok after him.
Anyone got any experience of this? or thoughts on whether it can work or not?
Ta 😀Posted 5 years agogeoffjSubscriber
I did it for 7 years, and it worked well. How well it will work for you depends on how disciplined you are and what the work culture is like. If you are in a cushy public sector middle or senior mgt position and you have a good relationship with your line manager it can be easy. On a commercial environment at the sharp sales end with lots of folk wanting a bit of you 24/7, I can imagine it could be more difficult. There are potential issues around progression and career development if you are perceived to be too special. You also really need to want to do it. If you *love* your job, you may end up resenting the fact that you have to do family things on Monday or Friday.
I had it pretty easy and it worked well for us, but I’ve also seen it cause problems.
Just be aware that if you do go for it, you may never feel able or willing to work a regular 9-5 again!Posted 5 years ago
Thanks so far guys, I’m an engineer in product concepting and development, working in a small team, with one lady who already does 4 days. I guess I’m concerned what effect it would have on career and being considered for promotion. It’s an office based job on the whole, and around 10-20% of my time is spent in meetings so I wouldnt think it’d be hard to fit stuff into 4 days… keep the thoughts coming please 😀Posted 5 years agomikewsmithSubscriber
If you can structure your week then probably. I used to commute Glasgow to Warrington on a weekly basis and managed to work Monday lunch to Fri lunch fairly well. Once people worked it out it helped. However having worked with others doing it you will be blamed for things not happening if it’s your fault or not.Posted 5 years agoRichPennyMember
However having worked with others doing it you will be blamed for things not happening if it’s your fault or not.
He’s a design engineer, it’s always his fault 😉
Seriously, your plan seems like a good one. I would not expect workload to change though, so if you’re having to do O/T over 5 days is it feasible to fit everything into 4? My concern would be that you’d actually see less of your family over the 4 days (maybe even none of your child?) and this might not make up for the full day off. How would your partner feel about that? Mine found it hard when I started being out of the house for 12 hours a day. I wasn’t having a day off though, and I was working Sat am so maybe incomparable.Posted 5 years ago
unfortunately taking a pay cut isn’t an option, though part of the plan would be for her to look for something part time once we settle into the routine, so may become an option.
last year was very busy, though this year’s plan is less demanding, so I would hope it would work out, I was happy to do lots of (unpaid) overtime last year, but over Christmas we spent a lot of time talking about 2012 and decided I want to change from a live-to-work attitude to a work-to-live one, so something has to give…Posted 5 years agocsbMember
Just compressed myself into 9 days over a fortnight so that I can look after jnr every other Monday.
Could have just relied on the flexi system which I accrue more than enough hours from to take a day off a fortnight but it makes it formal.
Negligible effect on the hours I have to work each of the 9 days.
Makes calculating days off a bit complicated – instead of 30 days off a year I get 222 hours, and each ‘day’ I take takes a bit more from my hours allocation (i.e. I buy back a longer day).Posted 5 years ago
Fair enough. Compressed hours wasn’t on the table from my employer and once you work out the tax/take home it was actually a ~15% pay cut rather than 20%.
It’s been a bit of a financial squeeze but can’t recommend it enough. I wouldn’t give up adventure Fridays with my son for anything.
Until he goes to school and then I can go riding all day…Posted 5 years agoourmaninthenorthSubscriber
Things I would change to make it work:
1 – reprioritize, ie do more admin work when you’re there and colleagues aren’t.
2 – cut down time spent in meetings. If there’s no published agenda or specified outcome, don’t run them/attend
3 – understand that people will expect you to be in before and after them every day you’re due in
4 – accept you’ll still have to do some work on some off days
(FWIW I think it’s very much down to do with your employer’s culture and what’s expected of your job. Wouldn’t work for me as I’m expected to do the job, however many hours or days it takes!)Posted 5 years agolister11Member
Works here, either a 4.5 day week or a 4 day week option. I tailor them to suit the time of year. Long days winter means a Wednesday off for some daylight and then short days and a half day in the summer for maximising the evenings.
Works well as my role is basically split into 30minute slots all day, everyday.Posted 5 years ago
Ourmaninthenorth has good advice.
I would add that you want to discuss your holidays with your hr as well. They will probably want to reduce your number of holiday days to 4/5 as well. That should work for you but it might be worth taking a look over the year how it works out.
Also pick your day off carefully. We have a lot of 4/5ths people and a lot used to like taking the Friday to give them long weekends but then they discovered that they lost the public holidays that were on Fridays. Some moved to wed to deal with that. Others tried to move their day off each week to avoid pubic holidays but we banned that.
It works nicely though as if you are careful you can cram a lot of the household stuff into the day off and that can free your weekend upPosted 5 years agogeoffjSubscriber
Leffeboys concerns shouldn’t be issues in a company with a grown up HR department.Posted 5 years ago
It’s likely that annual leave and public hols will be converted to an hourly allocation which you and hr will manage between you. You shouldn’t lose any entitlement because of which days you choose to take for child care.
A significant consideration to add to the mix is flexibility. Doing 4 long days can mean that there is no opportunity to build up time to take later (toil, flexi etc). It may not seem like an issue, but it can grind you down not being able to sneak out 2 hours early on a sunny Friday afternoon.SammyCMember
Might be worth considering the 4 day option. That’s what I do too and like others have said it really doesn’t make that much financial difference especially if you review your finances before you start (I.e. do you really need a £40 a month mobile contract… Etc). Personally I find I’m just as productive over 4 days as I was over 5, but perhaps that says more about me! Also I was told that in terms of redundancy it made things less likely asit showed tthat I was prepared to work flexibly. Who knows on that one though.Posted 5 years agogonefishinMember
The number of holidays shouldn’t be affected by working a compressed week as you are still contracted to work the same number of hours. I started on a 4.5 day week (still 40hrs though) last year so I leave at lunchtime on Fridays and still get a full holiday entitlement. As for public holidays, well if they land on your day off you’ll probably have to take that one on the chin, as to do otherwise would be almost impossible to manage, although if you have a good relationship with your immediate boss an informal arrangement might be possible, depending on the culture of your office. As for constantly changing your day off, I worked somewhere where that was allowed and it was a planning nightmare. Had I been in charge of the department I wouldn’t have allowed it.Posted 5 years agoTracker1972Member
Used to do full time hours but effectively 3.5 days a week. Every fourth Sunday and every other Saturday. Didn’t have kids at the time and it was absolutely fantastic! The weekend was always only a couple of days away 🙂
Was a field based service tech for a cable company so it was easy enough to do. Could be trickier in an office but I would go for it if I could still see my kids every day without missing bedtime.
Edit- as regards holidays, we got the same as everyone else in terms of hours, so fewer days, but we needed fewer if we checked the rotor properly.Posted 5 years agogusamcMember
To a certain extent depends on the company, a very large one with ‘hr’ probably has agreement details in place (*to deal with working mothers) in a smaller/new environment … does anybody else do this or part time etc ? – if so find out what their deal is as that can be used as a basis, either way I’d make sure everything is ‘in writing’ so that the agreement is clear all round and can’t cause problems.
I’m afraid I do think it could affect your career – even if only at the perception level, ‘small’ means less cover etc, and if it’s a small company it’s a pita if the person if you need is not there. I work ‘earlies’, agreed with my manager, and the number of people who look at their wrists when I walk out at 4 is noticeable, as was the comment ‘it must be 4 X is going home’ from a senior manager, funnily enough nobody comments when I get in early …. but like you I’m living now, I’ve downsized from a London job and it’s worjking for me.
*meeting == teleconference facilities exist, so dial inPosted 5 years agopolyMember
If you are currently contracted to do 9-5 M-F (usually with a “and such other ours as required to do the job clause”) but like many of us actually do 8-6 or similar then compressing hours won’t be easy. Work our how many hours you actually do in a normal week, and could you fit the same number of hours in 4 days. What would that do to your work-life balance on the “long days” (e.g. does that mean you don’t see Junior Tiboy at all because you leave before he is up and get back after bed?).
Promotion wise, it totally depends on the culture in your company. Some will embrance it, some will resent it. In terms of getting work elsewhere to move your career upwards, it would be unlikely you’d keep the work pattern unless (1) you knew the people well (2) you were so highly regarded/specialist you could dictate your terms.Posted 5 years agofootflapsSubscriber
I went down to a 4 day week a few years back. It was nice having the day off, but I’m pretty sure I did 5 days work in 4 days, so the company did better than me out of the deal. After a period of traveling with work a lot, where I was away for weeks at a time, I just went back to full time. I sort of miss the day off, but then the extra 25% pay is nice. Although it feels more like extra 50% pay as any extra above your ‘breakeven living costs’ is 100% pocket money!Posted 5 years agoBiscuit PoweredMember
I do 37 hours/week over 4 days. 7:30-5:15
Works well for me and I have the Friday off (which otherwise is a half day). Other colleagues have the Monday off and do a full day Friday.
Our manager pretty much leaves it up to us to chop and change as we see fit as long as it doesn’t compromise the work getting done when it’s supposed to. We have to agree amongst ourselves who has Friday and who has Monday so as to not be all out on the same days.
On bank holidays etc. the people who normally take the Monday off get Tuesday off instead.Posted 5 years ago
Thanks all, some really goood ideas and things to think about. First stop is an informal chat with HR to see how they will respond, I know there is a legal requirement to consider applications to do this sort of thing, but as some have pointed out it depends a lot on the HR team and their experiences/opinions of how it can work, or not.Posted 5 years ago
As far as the culture goes, it’s a veryy good place to work, but tends on the side of expecting a lot without rewarding that much, which is why after a very long year I’d like to make some changes so that I get more time with family.
Thinking about working hours, I’m lucky to only have a 20min commute, so could do 8-6 and still have breakfast at home with boy/wife and be home in time for storytime. Would mean sacrificing cycling to work as that is a 45minute ride, but the extra day would more than make up for it in my mind.
Would mean sacrificing cycling to work as that is a 45minute ride
oh, you didn’t mention that before. I would be hugely reluctant to give up the ride to work as it is the only thing that keeps me sane. Plus, very often, I find that 10 mins after getting on a bike in the evening I solve a problem I’ve been battling at for hours at work.Posted 5 years agoGJPMember
From the other side of the fence it pisses me right off.
1. Some people think because they work compressed hours they can count their lunch hour as a work hour
2. They think nothing if a late afternoon meeting runs on to past 6-30, or that 15 mins at 5-45pm is ok to find you are still there at 6-45pm
3. The I must speak to you today because I am not in until Tues, well tough my diary is up to date
4. Off loading work on a Thursday because they are not in until Monday, manage your own priorities
5. Getting pissed off because they are then not allowed to take flex, or we will not allow them to changes their days to suit there domestic life that week
I am sure not everyone who works compressed hours think/behave like this but my experiences have been tarnished by one or two individuals
Rant overPosted 5 years ago
GJP, thanks for posting the other side, really useful to be awatre of the potential issues for colleagues. As far as I am concerned it would be a fixed day off unless work needed me to swap it, and I would come into work if there was a reason that meant it couldnt be avoided, we are lucky with inlaws close so can always get cover.Posted 5 years ago
I guess I am also lucky that it’s rare that I have stuff that needs to be handled immediately as I don’t have much customer facing responsibility.
As I say though, tahnks for the other point of view.MoreCashThanDashSubscriber
I went a year or two doing 9 day fortnights for childcare purposes, and it worked OK for me/us.
A mate of mine used to do 4 day weeks, 37 hours a week when our employer at the time offered it as a trial – he found he was pretty knackered by the end of 4 days and didn’t really “enjoy” the extra day off as much as he had hoped, so packed it in.
Another mate of mine works 34 hours a week over 4 days, which works for him – though he does run his own business on the 5th normal weekdayPosted 5 years agoSprocketJockeyMember
I did it for 2 years after our son was born – was then business systems analyst for engineering dept of large rail company. Did 3 long days in London or on the road attending meetings etc Thursdays working at home, Fridays off to look after my son. Worked pretty well but as above had to be really disciplined on the days I was in the office to make them as productive as possible. Thursday at home was reserved for doing documentation and coding which benefitted from the lack of office distractions, but was often still working away at 9pm. I accepted that occasionally I would be contacted on my day off if urgent stuff came up.
If anything I was probably more productive under the arrangement but it did mean some really long days, particularly when I had a few offsite trips in the week. Certainly didn’t involve working less!Posted 5 years ago
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