As of this week, I officially work Tuesdays through Fridays. Standard eight-hour days, but only four of them. Every weekend is now a three-day weekend, and I am thrilled!
This wasn’t a decision that I took lightly, and the process revealed a few surprises. It took several months from the time I started thinking about it to actually make a formal request, and a couple more months for it to be made official. Here’s some of what I learned over the course of those months (about myself, about my relationship, and about The System), and what it took to make it happen. I’m writing this all out in hopes that it might serve as inspiration for anyone else who is thinking of reducing their working hours, and also provide some perspective that’s a little deeper than what can be conveyed in a headline.
The company I work for was not the barrier. Xero has verrrrrry flexible policies when it comes to working hours. They even have a series of internal publications showcasing people’s flexible work arrangements. People have reduced their hours for reasons as varied as wanting to avoid rush-hour traffic, to wanting to spend more time with their kids (temporarily or permanently), to training for and representing their country at international sporting events. (We’re hiring, wanna move to New Zealand?! Or Singapore or Melbourne or Denver or…? Let me know if there’s a role you’re interested in and I can send you the internal referral link!)
Benefits weren’t a factor. Everyone who lives in New Zealand, either permanently or on a visa that’s longer than 24 months, is covered by the national health care system, and all other benefits (vacation, sick time) would be prorated according to my new schedule.
I worried a bit about letting my team down, but the truth of the matter is that my working fewer hours would bring our workflows into much better alignment, as the person who does a lot of the post-production on the videos we make together is also on a four-day schedule! Without exception, everyone on my team cheered me on as soon as I told them what I was hoping to do.
My partner wasn’t holding things back, either. Quite the opposite, Scott’s been encouraging me to reduce my working hours for ages. Continue reading “Every weekend can be a three-day weekend: my journey to a four-day work week”