This is the second installment in our new series Fully Carsonified, where we reveal how we work. Today we’ll explain how and why we work a 4-day week.

Have you ever noticed that right before you go on holiday you get double the amount done that you would on a normal week? Why? Because you have a time constraint. You have to get all of your work done before you leave for holiday otherwise those cocktails by the pool just won’t taste as sweet will they? You’re sacrificing your time now so that you can enjoy it later.

When we tell people that at Carsonified we only work 4 days a week (Mon-Thurs, 9am – 6pm) then the general assumption is that we don’t get as much done as other companies. That our workload has to be reduced in order to fit into our smaller work week. “You can’t do a full time job in just four days,” is the most popular reaction.

The words '4-day week' illustrated by Mike Kus with children playing on top of the words, on a red background

Infact, you can. If you work every week like you were going on holiday on the Friday then you can get all of your work done in four days rather than five. It takes concentration, dedication and a zero tolerance approach to distractions. The reward is an extra 52 days off a year. Is that worth it to you?

Humans are in general efficient beings. However, we have an annoying habit of making our work fill our time. When we were students we would always finish our essays with an hour to spare before the deadline. We could have written the paper the day after it was given and taken the rest of the week off but we didn’t we made the work it the time – it’s the same now that we are in the workplace.

Most offices work Mon – Fri, somewhere between the hours of 9am and 6pm. Because this time is designated as ‘work’ time we feel guilty if we are not working during that time. If you agree that Fridays are not ‘work’ time then you won’t feel guilty about not working on that day.

Of course it doesn’t have to be Fridays that are non-work days. It could be any day of the week. However, it does help to have a regular day planned in as your non-work day. That way everyone knows what to expect.

Common questions and answers

“It’s okay for you, you don’t have clients ringing you every day and expecting you to be there.” Well, that’s true. However, we believe that if you manage expectations then clients will be accepting of your schedule. Make sure to let them know when you won’t be available and also put a note on your answer-machine to remind them when you’re in the office and when you’re not.

“I have SOOO much to do I can hardly fit it into five days nevermind four!” You may think that you have five days of work to do but you don’t. Again, you will always fill your time and there will always be more work to do. Take a deep breath, re-organise your to-do list and work like crazy. It can be done.

“But what about downtime? I like my Friday afternoons in the pub/long lunches and shopping trips.” We have to admit that this is one of the downsides of working a four-day week. You don’t have much time to socialize with your work colleagues. I guess you have to decide which is more important to you, having more time to yourself to use as you wish or hanging out with the guys from the office more?

What if I have employees?

Many people ask us what to do when employees are put into the mix. Should you offer a four-day work week to them as well? It’s up to you but we pay our employees a full-time salary (not pro-rata) and offer them the same amount of holidays as they would receive in a full-time role. We think it keeps things fair.

We also never refer to their job as ‘part-time’ and write it into their contract that they agree not to work a second job on their day off.

Tips to get you going

Three practical tips to help your 4-day work week run smoother:

  1. Make your non-work day the same each week
  2. Keep a close eye on your to-do list. Make a reasonable list for each day and work through it methodically.
  3. Do something cool on your day off. Don’t waste your new found day off watching TV or doing chores. Go to a museum, visit the park with your kid or take up a new hobby.

We have 15 full-time people at Carsonified and the 4-day week works just fine for us. Try it, you just might work 20% less improving your income, happiness and creativity.