The Four-Day Schedule

If you had a choice between a “standard” work schedule (i.e., Monday through Friday for 8 hours each day) and a “shortened” schedule (i.e., Monday through Thursday for 10 hours each day), which would you choose?

At first, the shortened schedule looks like it would be great. After all, you do get Friday off, so you can get used to having long, luxurious three-day weekends. I personally don’t think I would do it, simply because cramming 10 hours of work into a single day would be painful mentally and physically, especially for four days in a row. My job involves thinking and basically being inside my own head all day long, as well as sitting in front of a computer screen, so I’d overthink myself into panic mode and strain my eyes. Other jobs might lend themselves better to 10-hour stretches.

To me, the main problem with the standard work schedule is that it can get tiring going into work five days in a row, especially if you commute every day. My solution to this would be not to have a day off on Friday but to have a day off on Wednesday, so your 10-hour workdays would be broken into more “bite-size” periods. Another solution would be to work remotely on Wednesday if possible so you can avoid the commute and use the time that’s normally spent driving for more worthwhile things, like cleaning or cooking (or maybe even working on a hobby if you’re very lucky).

What do you think? Would you work on a 4-day schedule if you could?

8 thoughts on “The Four-Day Schedule

  1. I had a four day work schedule with a factory job years ago. I ended up spending every Friday play catch up on all the things I was too exhausted to do Monday – Thursday because of those two extra hours of work each day. It’s not the worst work schedule I’ve had, but it wasn’t my favorite.

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  2. Back when I maintained test equipment for a division of Honeywell that manufactured stuff, I crammed my 40 hours into three days so I could work for Mom’s cleaning service on the other four. That wouldn’t work with the kind of work you and I do now, which is a point I didn’t consider when I first saw your question. So I guess it depends.

    The three days, incidentally, were 4p-8a Fri and Sat, then 4p-midnight Sunday. I chose those hours because the day shift had more managers than workers and it was hard to get anything done. Plus, well, I never claimed to be sane.

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  3. I think the vision of having “extra time” is pretty much an illusion, at least over the long haul. I know people at my job who work 13 hours a day for three days, then they have four days off. I gather the first two of those four days are pretty much a wash because they’re so exhausted.

    Of course, they are my age (not young), so that may be a factor. 🙂

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    • I feel like the 8-hour day/5-day a week schedule has worked for so long for a reason… it fits better with people’s natural rhythms. And I know people at my job who work 10-hour days all five days of the workweek… I wonder how they can do it.

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  4. The way I see it is that you have 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work, and 8 hours to enjoy. So I try and stick with that balance.

    To answer your question though, I’d go for something consistent rather than have odd breaks. Being a rather ritualistic person probably plays a role in my preference!

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