Tell me a bit about yourself
I went to university as I didn’t know what else to do at the time. I got a business related degree, went travelling for a short period after uni and then landed a temp job in a recruitment agency. Temp job went permanent and I was living in Stoke on Trent at the time. I wanted to be in a bigger city so moved to Manchester at the end of 2008 and got an in-house recruitment role, and I’ve continued to work my way up, and also moved into Outsourcing.
I’m married, we have a dog, and we have a mortgage on our house (I think I’ve seen the term Dinkwad used- dual income, no kids, with a dog).
Where were you before the 4 day job?/Did you enjoy your previous role?
My 4 day week came in May 2022. I am part of the senior leadership team for the company I work at, and we were having a hard time attracting and retaining people in our own business. At the time, a few businesses had signed up to the 4 day week trial- we didn’t, we decided to make the move ourselves. To make it possible we dropped contractual hours by 5 per week, with no change to pay. That then made a 4 day week more feasible, but some have maintained 5 days with shorter hours. It came at the right time as we were coming out of the pandemic, and I was working a lot of hours as I’d been used to doing it in lockdowns and found it hard to get out of the habit of logging on early and working late. I’d enjoyed previous roles, including my current role as 5 day per week jobs, but always felt a 4 day week would be my dream (but also that I’d be unlikely to get it without a kid as businesses always need a ‘why’).
How have things changed at work?
Moving to a 4 day week was a business wide change in my existing role. I think about 80% of us do a 4 day week, others work shorter hours across 5 days. If I was looking for a new role, I’d also want the flexibility to do a 4 day week, on full pay. I’m aware of more job boards and groups now that promote flex working jobs but I’m not currently looking for a new role so in reality I don’t know how easy it would be to walk into a 4 day week. I think the completion of the trial that others took part in will help moving forward, and I think we’re starting to move away from the premise that it’s only working mums who have part time hours or flexible working.
Will you always want to work 4 day weeks now?
A 4 day week would be a big pull for any future role. I would also say that in our business it has served its goal, which was to attract and retain staff. I haven’t actively looked for a new role since I got my 4 day week but that’s also down to the work I do - I am progressing, and for the most part get engagement from it. However I’m not the kind of person to take no action so if I was unhappy then I’d still seek a new opportunity. I think the 4 day week would definitely change the priorities I look for though.
What does it mean for your life?
It's brilliant, I love it. As I say, I love my job but on Sunday afternoons I would still have a tiny bit of ‘blues’ that the weekend is over, but I can honestly say I don’t get that anymore. I have Mondays off and by the time I reach Monday afternoon I feel I’ve achieved everything I want to and therefore I’m ready to hit the next working week. As I’m in a leadership role, I do keep an eye on my emails but not to the detriment of what I’m doing. I think I fit more into my weekends now, especially Sunday evenings, and I have more time for house maintenance type stuff etc.. The 4 day week has helped me balance work and life. When I’m working, I work really hard, but then my reward is 3 days off to fully relax.
What do you do with your extra free time?
I’d love to say I’ve learned new skills or taken up new hobbies but I have not- mainly because I can’t find anything I’m passionate enough to get into. But having an extra day to go to the gym, go on extra long dog walks, plan holidays, see friends on maternity leave etc. is wonderful. I feel lucky to be in this position where my hours were reduced and my pay maintained. Although I haven’t taken up additional hobbies, we are travelling a lot more- UK weekends away and European city breaks. Travel is one of my passions but I guess the flip side is I’m spending more of my disposable income. But that’s what it’s for right, and I’m spending it on something that makes me happy.
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