web analytics

Four day week, way of the future?

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, September 28th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: employment - Tags:

How would you like to work  a four-day, ten-hour per day week, rather than a five-day week?

A number of organisations in the US have adopted the 4-day week to save energy costs during the recession, and it’s working so well for employers and workers that it may become permanent. A survey I saw mentioned on Fox (I was just channel-surfing, honest!) found that 7% of businesses had gone to a four day week as a cost saver. The report reckoned that, even as the recession ends, more organisations, are looking at going to the 4-day week including schools and universities.

The biggest organisation to give it a try is the Utah State public service. A report on the experiment found:

  • 13% reduction in energy costs were realised
  • 82% of workers wanted to keep the 4-day week
  • worker morale was higher and they were more productive due to less down-time at the start and end of each day
  • fewer sick days were taken (accounting for the fact that there are fewer days worked, of course). Workers are at their jobs 9% more. Paid overtime is down.
  • workers saved on commuting costs, $35o per worker in petrol costs alone per year
  • in total, carbon emissions were reduced by 12,000 tons
  • customers liked the longer hours at the DMV etc because it made it easier for them to get there outside their own work hours
  • many employees use their Friday for volunteering

So what do you reckon? Is the four-day week the way of the future?

18 comments on “Four day week, way of the future?”

  1. So Bored 1

    Sounds good until your kindly employer sees fit to reduce the 10 hours to 8 and expects 40 hours worth of work in a reduced timeframe. Cant see it working unless your workplace has a strong and militant union to keep the employers honest.

  2. Terry 2

    Sounds pretty good! Are there any cons?

  3. Tom Semmens 3

    Hahahahahaha New Zealand bosses adopt a four day week? Why, next you’ll be expecting them to accept a 40 hour week and penal rates for overtime when we all know these are harbingers of the end of times.

  4. Jono 4

    I worked a four day week (“Four tens”) in the US for six months and really enjoyed it. It is great for field-based jobs and/or thoses where there is a lot of travel time each day eg when you are generally out of the office and not at a desk. I was working on an archaeological survey crew doing pre-/post harvest and post-fire surveys in forests and with up to an hour and a half travel time each way into project areas, it was the only way to get a decent days work done. After a few weeks, I barely noticed the extra couple of hours.

    I dont know how it would be for a desk job, but would probably suck according to temperament.

  5. BLiP 5

    Brilliant – but – get with the programme.

    National Ltd is playing a bigger game, the full extent yet to be exposed. We know a part of it’s agenda is to reduce wages. They’ve shown the lengths they will go to when bullying the public service and the private sector is beginning now to join in – one employer setting the tone by assaulting staff and ignoring a judgement from the Employment Court stating its actions are illegal. Another 18 months like this and the public service will pretty much have ground to a halt, there will be pickets at every second factory gate and . . . voila . . . snap election!

    In this climate, with so much at stake, do you seriously expect National Ltd to take its foot off the throat of Aotearoa?

    • So Bored 5.1

      Well said BliP, Theres a few people on the blog who would like to work 4 day 40 hour weeks, which all sounds good, but I have absolutely no faith that employers will not take advantage of this to reduce hours or reduce wages etc.

  6. rainman 6

    Right now even a one day week would be an improvement for me!

  7. Blue 7

    I used to do a four-day ten-hours roster and I loved it. Three whole days off a week. Could go and get stuff done that can only be done during ‘business hours’ (i.e ‘never’ if you also work ‘business hours’.)

    Didn’t even notice the extra two hours a day.

    I loved the freedom and flexibility, and it was good for the employer too because they could cover the weekends and public holidays etc. that are usually hard to staff because everyone worked no more than 2 weekend days a month.

  8. Hubby loves it and I do too.
    He has a 4 day 40 hours every three weeks and I for one wished he could have that roster every week. The four days are long but the extra day free makes more than up for it.

  9. infused 9

    The problem is, it’s very hard to do unless most companies do it. IE, running an IT firm, I can’t go 4 days unless all my clients do. Would be nice though… Haven’t had a weekend in awhile.

  10. hanknickelson 10

    In my personal experience, it was a huge success. I easily achieved more in 4x 9 hour days than I had been in a 40 hour week, However I do share some concern with those who can see the opportunity for some employers to take advantage of the situation…

  11. StephenR 11

    In this climate, with so much at stake, do you seriously expect National Ltd to take its foot off the throat of Aotearoa?

    What’s at stake with this proposal?

  12. Nick C 12

    What i like about it is that it came about as the result of a mutually beneficial agreement between the employees and the employer, as opposed to government intervention.

    These sorts of agreements always seem to work best.

    • Maynard J 12.1

      Indeed, shame that such an agreement is the exception and not the rule.

      Although, I might point out that this exception was a governmental organisation 😉

      Mind you, govt intervention rarely affects employers. They are all ‘good employers’ who already give all the benefits that regulation mandates, right? That is the line trotted out every time…

  13. jcuknz 13

    I remember when I worked a ten day fourtnight and had my RDOs together, two at the end of a roster period and two at the start of the next period. Having four days off was wonderful, first when I was building the family home and later when I went ski-ing with my family. My daughter-in-law works a three day 13hr shift and has four days off a week. People need to get out of the thinking that a 5 day 40 hour week is the be all and end all. If that guy is worth anything his customers will accept his four day week, and could well copy him. Now I have seven days off a week and its tough!

  14. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 14

    This is a great idea for all concerned. It leaves the 5th day as a great option day instead of going to work, such as:
    1. Take the day off.
    2. Do DIY
    3. Child minding
    4. Work another job for extra income, and you still get the week end off.
    5. Develop your career further by going to Uni etc.

    I have always thought this was a good idea since I worked in a factory from 1985-9 while I was at Uni & full time.

    Both employer & worker wins in my opinion.

  15. Rex Widerstrom 15

    Great, but better yet the government could just about meet our ETS targets by offering an incentive (via taxation) to employers who let their workers telecommute. The floor upon floor of public service drones populating most of Wellington could be sent home to stay there, hooked up by broadband. So could the administration, HR and marketing departments of most businesses.

    In fact any business not involved in physically making something, or storing and transporting goods, could be told to send it’s workers home to manage their own time. Want to play with the kids when they get home from school? Fine, just work a few hours this evening to ensure the campaign material is emailed through by the deadline.

    Government departments and firms could maintain a much smaller headquarters with meeting rooms for those times when people absolutely had to be together in one place, and “hot desk” offices for client meetings which couldn’t take place online.

    I’ve been telecommuting for the past five years and wouldn’t swap it for twice the income sitting in a suit in an office versus sitting here in my home office wearing… well, you don’t want to know, trust me.

    And if I’m ever offered a contract which the employer thinks requires me to sit in their office to complete the work, the first thing I do is say I charge for travel. Then I use that to negotiate hours like, say, 10.00 am till 7.00 pm so I can travel to and from that office down uncluttered motorways, saving time, fuel and — most importantly — my blood pressure through not having to go hoarse telling idiots how to merge and what that little stick on their steering wheel is for.

  16. Trevor Mallard 16

    Kiwirail workshops Woburn and Hillside run 4 x 10. Seems to work well for them.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Govt keeps projects on road to completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today transport projects currently in construction will continue at pace due to extra Government support for transport projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. To keep the $16.9 billion 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme going the Government has allocated funding from the COVID Response and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • First project utilising $50 million ‘shovel ready’ fund for rural broadband announced
    $50 million for further rural broadband digital connectivity has been allocated from the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been announced by Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure and Kris Faafoi, Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. The investment will go to boosting broadband ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections
    The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB. “This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network. “Uptake ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Infrastructure to transform Omokoroa
    The Government is funding a significant infrastructure package at Omokoroa which will create 150 new jobs and help transform the Western Bay of Plenty peninsula, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the Government is investing $14 million towards the $28 million roading and water package. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Bill passes for managed isolation charges
    The Bill allowing the Government to recover some costs for managed isolation and quarantine passed its third reading today, with charges coming into force as soon as regulations are finalised. Putting regulations into force is the next step. “The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill and its supporting regulations will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Unemployment drop shows Govt plan to protect jobs and support businesses is working
    Today’s unemployment data shows the Government’s plan to protect jobs and cushion the blow for businesses and households against the economic impact of COVID-19 was the right decision, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ said today that New Zealand’s unemployment rate in the June quarter – which includes the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New role to champion reading for children
    A new role of New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people is being established, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Internal Affairs and for Children, Tracey Martin announced today. The Reading Ambassador, announced at a Celebration of Reading event at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Funding boost for Community Law Centres
    Community Law Centres will receive a funding boost to meet the increased need for free legal services due to COVID-19, Justice Minister Andrew Little said. The $3.5m funding is for the next three financial years and is additional to the almost $8 million for Community Law Centres announced in Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand joins initiative to boost women’s role in global trade
    New Zealand has joined Canada and Chile in a new trade initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation in global trade. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, together with Canada’s Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrés Allamand, and Chile’s Vice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government provides $2.2m to heritage buildings for quake strengthening
    Building owners around New Zealand have benefited from the latest round of Heritage EQUIP funding with grants totalling $2,230,166. “The Heritage EQUIP grants for seismic strengthening assist private building owners to get the professional advice they need to go ahead with their projects or support them to carry out the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Better hospital care for Northland babies and their whānau
    •    New paediatric facilities, including a Special Baby Care Unit •    Up to 50 extra inpatient beds  •    New lab facilities  Northland babies and their whānau will soon have access to improved hospital care when they need it with Health Minister Chris Hipkins today confirming new paediatric facilities and more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Green light for Wellington and Wairarapa in $220m nationwide cycleways package
    People walking and cycling between Featherston and Greytown, or along Wellington’s Eastern Bays will soon have a safe shared path, as part of a $220 million shovel-ready cycleways package announced by Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. “During lockdown we saw many more families and kids out on their bikes, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand expresses condolences on passing of Vanuatu High Commissioner
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today extended New Zealand’s condolences following the death of Vanuatu’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Johnson Naviti, who passed away yesterday afternoon in Wellington. “Our thoughts are with the High Commissioner’s family and colleagues during this difficult time. This is a terrible loss both to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces allocation of three waters funds for councils
    The Government has today set out the regional allocations of the $761 million Three Waters stimulus and reform funding for councils announced by Prime Minister Hon Jacinda Ardern this month.  "I want to thank Councils around the country for engaging with the Central Local Government Steering Group who have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for students with highest learning support needs
    Students with high and complex learning needs, as well as their teachers and parents, will benefit from a substantial increase to Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding, Associate Education Minister Martin announced today. “Nearly $160 million will go towards helping these students by lifting their base support over the next four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt connecting kiwis to affordable, healthy food
    Funding for innovative projects to connect Kiwis with affordable, safe and wholesome food, reduce food waste, and help our food producers recover from COVID-19 has been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “COVID-19 has seen an increasing number of families facing unprecedented financial pressure. Foodbanks and community food service ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Getting infrastructure for housing underway
    Eight shovel-ready projects within Kāinga Ora large-scale developments, and the Unitec residential development in Auckland have been given the go-ahead, Minister for Housing Dr Megan Woods announced today. Megan Woods says these significant infrastructure upgrades will ensure that the provision of homes in Auckland can continue apace. “The funding announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Napier walk and cycleway to improve safety
    The Government is funding a new separated walking and cycleway path along Napier’s Chambers and Ellison streets to provide safer access for local students and residents across Marine Parade and State Highway 51, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Police Minister Stuart Nash announced today. Funding of $2.7 million has been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago