My employer lets us work four-day weeks – it’s changed my life


Getting long weekends without your pay or holiday allowance being docked sounds like a dream come true – but it’s completely normal for John Ritchie.

John, 37, is a senior product manager for rail ticketing company Seatfrog – and is one of 40 workers in total at the company who work just four days a week.

The thought of enjoying a three-day weekend all the time was a “big motivation” for John switching jobs – and said the perk was “unbelievable”.

“For me it was a huge thing to go to a four day week – I will take my two kids to school on Friday morning, and I have the morning to myself,” he said.

“I go to the gym, and do stuff I need to do around the house or in town like go to B&Q.

“It’s been life changing for me.”

The company, which is targeting a $31.2 million turnover this year, decided to cut the working week for its workers by a day in September last year.

That was following a successful nine-month trial. Now, all workers have Fridays off.

The company wanted to see whether a new way of working could boost productivity – it estimates workers are now delivering up to 20% more than they would over a five-day week.

Less work, same pay

But while staff work less hours, pay hasn’t been docked – nor holiday allowance.

John gets 25 days holiday, which doesn’t include bank holidays. 

This year there are nine bank holidays, so John gets 34 days off in total.

Wages or holiday entitlement has not been cut because the company believes workers can do their jobs just as well in four days as they do in five.

John thinks he does a better job doing a four-day week.

“A four day week helps me focus.

“I don’t necessarily work longer hours from Monday to Thursday – I’m just more productive and plan more as I know I don’t have Fridays.

“The amount of stuff you can cut out without impacting performance is unbelievable.”

However, he sometimes finds he does log in on Fridays to do some work, but says its through his own choice.

“Sometimes, if I have a deadline, I choose to work on Fridays.

“In a five month period, I’ve put in four or five hours of work in total and it’s been my choice to do that.”

He says it has made a “big difference”.

“That extra day of no pressure is unbelievable – makes such a big difference to wellbeing.

“My daughter says I was always too tired on Fridays to do anything in the evenings – but now we go to the cinema. It was heartbreaking to hear, but now there’s been a big change.

“We’re happier as a family – my wife works shifts at an airline, so when she’s off on Friday we can spend time together.

“Going out for breakfast has been amazing, and has brought us closer together.”

The Seatfrog logo. John enjoys four-day weeks and says the extra day off at the weekend has been “life changing.”
Seatfrog

Who else is doing four-day weeks?

Thousands of workers across the country could soon benefit from a four-day week like John – without seeing their wages docked.

In total, 60 firms with 3,000 staff have signed up to take part in a pilot, which will give workers a longer weekend.

The pilot starts in June and runs for six months – it’s being organised by the campaign group 4 Day Week Global.

The idea is that staff will get 100% of their salary for 80% of the time, and hopefully maintain 100% productivity.

It comes as Atom Bank announced in November last year that its 430 workers can choose to take Mondays or Fridays off work – and they won’t lose a penny of pay.

We’ve also rounded up other major companies who are offering three-day weekends too.

Can I ask my boss for a four-day week?

Requesting flexible work is known as making a statutory application.

There are different types of flexible working requests you can make, such as switching to part time hours or compressing your working hours into fewer days.

Your boss has to consider the request, but they don’t have to agree and you might have to take a pay cut for working fewer hours.

To make a request, you should write to your employer who will then consider your proposal and make a decision, usually within three months.

If they agree, your contract will be updated to reflect the changes.

If they disagree, they have to give you a reason and you could complain to an employment tribunal if you feel it’s unfair.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.



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