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I'm very supportive of reducing work hours and days. I've recently got to unofficially try it out myself, because I asked for Fridays off for a couple weeks so I have some longer weekends to work on a university assignment. That would permit me more time to work on it, or at least have one day for rest and fun, one day for chores and errands, and one day to put in a lot of work.
I'm surprised by the fact that I don't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It made me feel a little lost, and a little like those bad Sundays where you feel bad and depressed about your life, and like you should be doing something great but aren't. And everything you think of doing sucks, isn't available, or something you don't wanna do right now. Or like in school days where the summer break started to feel boring and you caught yourself looking a bit forward to school again. I wonder if this is me being an indoctrinated worker being so used to 5 days, or if it's my work circumstances or private circumstances?
I already have flextime so I can clock in and out when I want, and work from home 3 days a week (I come in for two); so that gives me a lot of freedom, flexibility, and reduces stress from public transport (I know I know, this entry smells extremely of "european unions" and you're right). When there's barely any work or none at all, I can use the time for studying, my hobbies, the household and so on. I guess having this arrangement reduced my need for the 4 day work week since I already get so much done during the week and feel more rested with more time spent on things I enjoy. I think if I didn't have home office, having a 4-day work week would be necessary for my mental health and life management. Since having the option to work from home, my sick days and use of PTO dropped by a lot.
Having the additional day off felt a bit odd to me I guess because of lack of external structure that we become so used to due to kindergarten, school, university, work. I think it works well for others and we should enable everyone to switch to a 4-day work week, but I think I am better off keeping with the 5 days because lack of structure and external forces makes me too reclusive and triggers some anxiety and depression.
I would enjoy a reduction in hours though with equal pay. While my work is important and at times, stressful with waves of stuff coming in (hundreds of mails and database entry), I am often done with everything I can do ranging from 20 minutes to 4 hours max, so 8 hours is excessive. I think in my type of work, clinging onto the 40h-work week is a relic from a time long gone and should be given up. Pay me for the work I get done, not how long I am sitting at my desk. I don't wanna act busy and pretend I am working, or stretch 20 minutes of work to 4 hours to keep up the facade. Let me leave early then without racking up minus hours, lol. I could get by well and be reachable by enough coworkers and other departments if we could reduce to 5 hours instead.
I could actually reduce to parttime with a flexible % with my employer, however the money is the issue. So we really need to make working less not be a financial hit to workers; I still get the 40h work done, am I not? In my personal case, I am basically already working parttime with equal pay, since there isn't enough work coming in for 8 hours (and who can work in a focused and productive way for 8 hours anyway?); we would just end the pretending and acknowledge this fact.
I am really supportive of the experiments worldwide where companies pay their office workers a fixed wage and it's not about time or days anymore, just that the work is getting done. Consider it an incentive to show up, to do the work at all, or a retainer. This doesn't work for all industries and I fear in different types of work, this would be misused to justify not paying overtime and people putting in far more work and/or hours than they're compensated. But for my type of work, it would definitely be beneficial and easy to introduce.
Anyway, I am glad to go back to 5 days again soon when my uni stuff is done. I never thought I would say that. I guess another issue is that a 40-hour work week is alienating many people from their hobbies, families, neighbors, and other communities so when there's less work time, people simply don't exactly know what to do anymore. I fully acknowledge that maybe if I was less of a rather isolated person, I would maybe feel differently about it; working less isolates me even more because I communicate one day less with my coworkers, and this increased isolation wouldn't be the case if I used the 5th day to socialize privately.
But even if you have reduced hours and only 4 days of work, the majority won't, and will not have time or energy left for you. Even if you elevate your working situation to let more community into your life, you are still affected by others' circumstances preventing them from socializing. I'm very lucky that I have found lots of people who can occasionally meet up for a game night, be it Gartic Phone, Jackbox, or DnD every 2-3 weeks. That's sadly not the norm.
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