Would You Work Four 10-Hour Days Instead Of Five?

Would You Work Four 10-Hour Days Instead Of Five?
GIF: Kotaku

An interesting Off Topic that many of you working folk might be interested in: the four-day working week.

I saw some chatter recently about trials being run at a New Zealand company, where trustee and will managers Perpetual Guardian released results of a trial. The idea was to swap out the traditional five-day working week with a four day week, with teams and managers detailing their regular tasks and finding ways to meet deadlines and productivity within four days instead of five.

An infographic released by Perpetual found that work-life balance improved, staff stress decreased, productivity levels were maintained, and team engagement metrics rose. The study didn’t change the general hours people worked over those four days, although there’s been suggestion of maintaining the same amount of hours throughout the week with four 10-hour days.

So let’s try that as a simple exercise. If you were given the option to work four days, but your hours were extended to ten hours instead of the usual eight (lunch or dinner break not included), would you take it?

[polldaddy poll=10116453]


  • Well, 4 days at 10 hours would be cutting down for me lol, I work 16 hours a day 5 days a week as a teacher, bring it on!

    • While I feel your pain, and I have MANY teacher friends, I have to point out ..

      You chose that. You actually work 8hr days. I’ve seen the contracts. Teachers exist that work 8hr days. Your decision to ‘screw yourself’ has a bearing on the entire industry, and it needs a total overhaul for more reasons than this.

      • You chose that. You actually work 8hr days. I’ve seen the contracts. Teachers exist that work 8hr days. Your decision to ‘screw yourself’ has a bearing on the entire industry, and it needs a total overhaul for more reasons than this.

        Oh I’m sorry, where did I declare I’ve ‘screwed myself’ lol. I love my job and I’m ok with the hours I work πŸ™‚ I never feel pressured despite my deadlines, I love the kids I work with and I don’t ever feel like I’ve ‘worked too much’ at the end of the day. Dial the aggression back a bit ok and don’t ever assume πŸ™‚

      • Just to also say this, please don’t *ever* tell me I ‘work 8 hour days’. You may have ‘seen contracts’ mate, but you’ve never been in the job.

        I get home, I write lesson plans, I differentiate for all my kids. I contact parents on a daily basis, I sort through work for my 4 different classes (2x Grade 8, 1 year 11 and 1 year 12), I have to then sort out who’s on ICP’s (disability assessed schemes) and how this will affect their work on a *daily* basis, not weekly or monthly. I’m responsible for the workbooks for the entirety of year 8 on a weekly basis so I create those from scratch, I have to alter my unit plan accordingly after all this is done, report any incidents during the day that have gone on, make sure my diary is constantly up to date, THEN and only then, is my day over. That’s the stuff I do when I get *home*. That’s beyond my ‘8 hours’. This is why I, and even your friends, would get offended when someone would dare say ‘you only work 8 hours’. I don’t work 8 hours a week, I work every hour I’m awake, I’m either thinking of what I’m doing that day, considering what I’m going to be doing or putting it into action. No other job I’ve ever had, and at the age of 40 I’ve had plenty, even comes *close* to the amount of work this one job has.

        Now, don’t go assuming I’m complaining like you did before, I live for this job and I love doing that and all it comes with. But don’t be so blatantly condescending you’d dare tell me how many hours I’d work because you’ve (and I highly doubt you have honestly) seen a piece of paper that says ‘8 hours’ on it.

        Because a teachers contract ACTUALLY stipulates 5 hours a day by the way, not 8. It only stipulates class contact time πŸ™‚ But it doesn’t mean I’m not working constantly all those other hours. I rise at 6, I go to bed around 11. I barely stop working between those hours. That’s so I can have my weekends with my son, because noone comes between me and my kid πŸ™‚

        • I wasn’t intending to be condescending.

          I know you do work stuff way more than the normal hours. I wrote it wrong as in “you work 8hrs” – meant that you’re paid for 8hrs.

          I’ve seen the contracts – it’s all publicly accessible cos you’re gov worker – yeah it’s not 8 hrs, it’s class time plus some small portion, not 8 exactly – you know this, I know this, we’ve both seen it.

          My comment point was that you chose to do the job and chose to put in whatever hours you put in. No one forced you. You say you love it – great, that’s what I’d hope fro ma teacher. So in that vein, your initial comment of “haha yeah I’d take 4x10hrs, it’s less than I do now” doesn’t have much of a point, as you chose to work x hours for a job that pays you ~8hrs.

          As for the “screwed yourself” comment – yeah, that’s the brutal reality. You may love it, but you’re getting abused by the system, and highly likely not getting repayed correctly. I have teacher friend who does a few hours of marking written stuff every now and then – otherwise they are at pub at 4pm. You should be mad at the system, not at me, for pointing out that you’re doing insane hours and getting paid for FTE only.

          So yeah to conclude – I’m not trying to piss you off. Just inserting some reality, which I’m fully aware has the potential to piss you off…

          • Oh you were definitely condescending, and I still cannot figure out the *actual* point of your original post when I made a lighthearted one at the beginning. All it amounted to was “I’m going to try to prove someone wrong!” when it was never needed.

            I still can’t believe either, the cognitive dissonance on display here, why would I be mad at the system when I’m happy with the system? I haven’t complained about my job lol. You’re projecting this whole idea that I am? You’re telling me I should be angry, when I’m literally telling you I’m not? To quote Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption, how can you be so obtuse?

            As for ‘inserting reality’, you’re inserting what you think you know, and as they say, what you think you know and what you do know, are two entirely different things. You think you know the life, but I *live* the life. It doesn’t make me special, it doesn’t make me better than anyone else here, it just makes me experienced in this field. You telling me how my life is? It’s like me trying to tell others how a surgeons life is, given my mates one, or how my other mates job is flying for the airforce, and how I know all about it because I googled and assumed a few things. I would never be so arrogant or short sighted.

            As for my ‘insane’ hours, I do roughly 70-80 hours a week going by my diary, but what else do I get? I get 12 weeks holiday a year. Did you hear me complain about my work? No. That was all you. Every. Single. Part. Not me. You. I get 12 damn weeks of holiday a year and I treasure every single one πŸ™‚ Those 70-80 hours are hard, but they’re worth it, I get to help shape young lives and help young students avoid the abuse I was subjected to in Highschool, something that drives me in my career. It’s rewarding, and I get to affect peoples lives positively and send them into the world hopefully better people for my time with them. And I get 12 weeks holiday a year for that which coincides with my sons holiday. Honestly, what a brilliant, family oriented career πŸ™‚ I’m currently on 2 weeks holiday and I’m relishing it all. Is this sinking in yet that I like my job? I’m not sure… I’m not a clock watcher, I don’t need to be avoiding work so I can go piss up and I’m a hard worker. I’m paid well, I love my benefits. Maybe now you’ll get it. I dunno.

            So again, the only negativity here was brought about by you, please look at how you approached this, please look at how you instigated this and how you really should’ve reconsidered your initial approach. Things could’ve been very different here, but altogether, you’ve assumed, condescended and come across like a pretentious know it all, when the truth is, like Jon Snow, you’re close to knowing nothing.

            Try not to approach things so… negatively in future. You’ll get a better response.

  • Shouldn’t there be a “No” option? 10 hour days means I have no work-life balance. (Ie, literally no time after work to work out, make food, etc.).

    Considering the advent of incredible amounts of automation, society should be striving towards working -less-, not redistributing what is already an insane way to spend a lifetime to get one extra day.

    • I agree, I guess it’s meant to be a joke but the poll is essentially 3 varying degrees of yes answers.

      I’ve done it, and I don’t want to do it again anytime soon. I’d rather spread my free time out over the week. More time to see friends for dinner during the week without having to cram it into the 3 evenings you have available.

    • I think you missed the part where you onky work 4 days instead of 5…

      IMHO this actually ends up as a better situation for some people getting 3 days off a week instead of the normal weekends. Heck my cobtract is almost like this with a 9 day fortnight where I work an extra 30 mins for 9 days and get 2 RDOs a month. Its a lot less stressful getting the extra day off eveey 2nd week!

      • I understand that. It’s just that now I can’t fit in activities over three whole days every week, where I once could before. Such as spreading out chores, activities, spending time with people after work, cooking food. Currently, finishing at 5 or so, I get home around 6 pm. If I was to add 2 hours to my work day, I’d get home at 8 pm. There’s now two hours before I should go to bed, where before there was 4.

        Doesn’t work.

    • Yep. 40 hours is just as arbitrary as 5 days. Once a company has figured how to make things work in 4 days, those extra two hours at the end of each day will really not contribute much. In fact, it is missing the point: Make people work more smartly and productively to attain in less days what they previously did in five. Making the hours longer is just going to make people work at the same pace except that by the extra long end of each working day they are going to be more tired and less enthusiastic.

  • I find it more interesting studies that show productivity between 4 Days\5 hours isn’t much different from 5 Days\8 hours.

    I would consider 4 Days \ 10 hours to get a consistent 3 day weekend (although my TOIL shows me breaching 5 Days \ 8 Hours anyway, shrug).

    • Yeah I’ve seen those studies too. 4 days @ 5hrs each is the ultimate goal. But that’s never gonna happen in one fell swoop, as people are like “BUT THE HOURS MASON, WHERE DID THEY GO”.

  • I used to work at a place with nine day fortnights. Everyone got alternate Mondays off of work (it was split so that half of the team got one Monday off while the other half got t’other). Admittedly we still worked normal hours, so it’s not the most pertinent example.

    • Im currebtly on a 9 day roster myself.honestly the extra 30 mins at work vs the extra long weekend a fortnight iz worth it in my case

    • I miss RDOs. You could get all your adulting things done on that weekday rather than taking an actual day off work.

  • Yeah, it’s usually 4 normal (7.5 or 8) hour working days, not 10 hours…

    Studies have shown that the amount of work people get done in a week doesn’t change, but the happiness of people increases – sometimes this can even cause greater productivity.

    But not 10 hours. That’s a silly idea…

  • I actually do work Tues-Fri 7:30-5:30 although I work for a tiny software company and I also work from home so don’t need to worry about commute times. I asked if I could do it so I could have another day to hang out with the kids and take them to swimming lessons and other activities that only happen during the week.

    Comes in pretty handy and I don’t think my productivity has been affected at all.

  • I remember a place I worked at years ago toying with the idea of running 12 hour shifts, so production would essentially run non-stop with two different shifts for the day.

    I would have been so very onboard with only having to go to work 3 days a week.

  • Absolutely I would.
    Family time is becoming more and more crucial to me as I get older. That extra day off would be magic.

    • You need to consider though that extra 2 hours a day you’d be at work. Depending on how long your commute is, this may mean you don’t even get to see your kids on those work days. They may not be awake when you leave in the morning, and they may be in bed by the time you get home. Sure you have a whole extra day a week you can spend with them but the tradeoff may be that you don’t see them at all on the 4 work days. Something to think about.

      • I do now mate – up at half 4 and in the office by 6, home around 5:30pm.
        I should have clarified going to a 40 hour week would be a significant reduction in my hours in my OP.
        Last week alone I racked up 62 hours (24 of which is unpaid OT) and this week will need to work public holiday Friday (GF parade) and Sunday both unpaid – plus any hours over the 38.
        It’s all part of the “expected OT” clause they have written into the contract, my fault entirely for not pressing the issue when I signed up.
        I do get to “manage my own hours” which means in the off season I can work less – but it never works out to being under 35 hours per week anyway.

        • Might be worth double checking that clause, they’re getting an extra half a week’s worth of work out of you a week and you’re not getting paid for it.

        • Yeah, that sucks man, and such clauses are the cancer that is eroding peoples lives. They think that salary means that’s how it is – we are not America or Japan.

          I’m on salary, yet I have OT.

  • I would consider it if I didn’t already commute 3 hours to work.
    But then I also work from home 2 days a week so I’m ok on work / life balance.
    Still feel like I need an extra day off to get house work done though!

  • One of the tenets of Agile development is the 40 hour week and maintaining productivity. A person working 12 hours in a day isn’t 12 hours of productivity, it is maybe 8 to 9 hours of productive work followed by 3 or 4 hours of reduced productivity that might equate to one or two hours of peak productivity work. Over the course of a week, anything more than 40 hours will also tend to result in reduced productivity returns.

    If I could a) work 10 hour days (for four days) and b) work the latter half of the day instead of 9-ish to 5-ish then I’d be my most productive.

  • Going back a couple of decades, the local steelworks here in Wollongong wanted to change from 3x 8 hour shifts to 2x 12 hour shifts. My dad was part of the group that figured out how to make it work.

    End result was they managed to align their 38 hour week into a roster that covered 3 months exactly. Along the way, nobody worked more than 2 days in a row, except once in that period, and also had a guaranteed 7 day period of being rostered off. Two of those 7 days they were on call, but nobody was ever called in.

    It was damn effective. He basically got a 4 day break every other week, and a week long break every 3 months, so didn’t need to use leave anywhere near as much. And knew his roster for the rest of his working life. No more day/arvo/night shift rotations.

    For me, working in an office, I’d happily work longer hours for less days a week. Being a public servant, we do 36.75 hours a week so 4x 10 hr would tie in perfectly once 30 mins for a break are factored in. That would either break the week up into smaller chunks, or give a long weekend every week. I could do that.

    If I commuted though, it would be a different story. That gets added on, so a 10 hour day becomes a 14 hour day very easily (next nearest office is a 2 hour commute), and no, I wouldn’t do that.

  • One of my brothers is a paramedic. He works four days a week, 12 hour shifts. The first two of those days are day shifts (6 AM – 6 PM), then the next two are night shifts (6 PM – 6 AM).

    Personally, I think that kind of roster is crazy, but he really enjoys it and it suits his lifestyle quite well.

    I personally work five days a week, from 7:39 AM – 4 PM, Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off. It’s not too bad, but the concept of working four days a week does interest me.

      • Not sure if he’s public service or not, but that time sounds like it. Here in the ATO we work a 7 hr 21m day (36hr 45m week), which would align with 7:39am to 4pm. The standard day includes an hour for lunch. All federal departments were that at one time, though in recent years a few have changed to 7hr 30m.

        We wouldn’t account for it that way though, but would generally start the day on a more standard time and have the wonky minute part at the end. So default day would be 8:30 to 4:51 with an hour for lunch. But its the same thing – 7hr 21m working hours, plus lunch.

          • Well, that could be it as well. And may be πŸ™‚

            I just automatically saw the 21m and thought public service hours. But it could be a simple typo just as easily.

      • Should add that theres probably flexitime in there somewhere as well so once you go over that 7hr 21m mark you bank extra time. Generally speaking. Build up enough extra time, you can take a day off. So the strange hours isn’t so important with that bank process flexitime uses.

      • Yeah, it’s public service/state level government. Should have clarified, sorry.

        Normally, our working hours are 8 AM – 4:21 PM, but I’ve got it negotiated with my supervisor to be 7:39 AM – 4 PM, as it makes getting to work and going home so much easier. Less traffic to deal with!

  • I work 2 days that are 10 hours. Then 2 night shifts that are 14 hours. (48 hours in 4 days) then I have 4 days off. Repeat the cycle.
    It is the ultimate roster.

  • I work four to five days a week with the hours varying from 10 to more each shift. It gives me a great amount of days off but as it is shift work it does impact on my social life. That being said even my quiet days are more intense than people sitting in an office browsing social media between lunch breaks.

  • I took Friday’s off every week for two months last year and I gotta say I was at least as, if not more, productive over those 4 days than I usually am in 5.
    The mindset a shorter week and longer weekend provided made me more willing to work harder since the week didn’t seem like such a slog and the break felt like a great reward.

  • I’m currently working a “compressed fortnight” – so I do 8ish-5ish daily with a 30 min lunch break (i.e. 8.5 hour days), and take every other Friday off.

    Flexible work arrangements are the way of the future.

    • Still sounds like a nightmare slog. 30 mins lunch? Are you a horse? Someone fed you crackers and told you it was candy.

      • I also get the benefit of working from home full time, so lunch needn’t be some long affair. Generally I just grab some leftovers out of the fridge and watch YouTube for half an hour. I suggested the 30 minute lunch break (reduced from my allotted hour) when proposing the schedule, so I guess I have only myself to ‘blame’ for cracker candy?

        Just because it’s not what you’d consider ideal doesn’t mean it’s not a good fit for somebody else’s needs.

    • Was the way of the past as well for some πŸ™‚ I couldn’t imagine working without flexitime, its one of the best conditions of service we have just for that flexibility.

  • Your poll has no option for “no freaking way”.

    I make more in my 10am-4pm/4-day-week as a contractor than I’ve ever made in my life. I can afford anything I want now.

  • I used to do 12-hour 4 on/4 off shifts (which frequently blew out to 14+ hours). The long days sucked and made it hard to do anything but work and sleep for 4 days every week. As such I never truly appreciated just how much free time I actually had until I got “promoted” and was given a normal schedule instead.

    Now I wish I could go back to those 4 day weekends…

  • I work 5x 10 hours and usually get 3 days off. This is an improvement on 4x 12hrs of 2 days, 2 nights and β€œ4” days off (3 days plus whatever was left after night shift). It’s better than 8 hour days and only 2 days off.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!