Sky com Want to Work A Four Day Week

By Kate Faithfull | Monday 17 August 2009

This may seem like a dream but it can be a reality.

Working four days a week is something millions of us dream about and thanks to the recession, employers are more open than ever to new ways of cutting costs so now could be the right time for you to make the change.

'Spending more time with your family or having a regular day you can devote to a personal project, like writing a book or travelling more, are just three of the benefits of moving to a four-day week,' says Ros Toynbee from 'It's about improving your quality of life.'

Tempted? Here's what to do nextů

Break down your role

Before you talk to your boss, prepare your case. List what you do in a week or a month and work out what elements of your role you can strike off your list of responsibilities. 'Much of our working lives are filled with tasks that don't need doing, like writing a report nobody reads or acts on,' says Toynbee. 'Go through each element and ask what value it provides to your organisation. If it's not important to the business and is only done by habit, that's a few hours work you could save every week.' Above all, don't moan about your workload because your aim here is to show your boss it's practical to reduce your hours.

Stealthily delegate

There might be part of your job that a colleague actually wants to do. 'Sell the idea to them by linking the task to something they care about, for example perhaps they want to get more involved in client-facing work,' suggest Toynbee. 'Have an informal discussion and allow your colleague to say no. Don't be held back by the thought the task is too dull for anyone to covet - it might be routine for you but it could be an opportunity to learn for someone else.' Also, list other things you might need your boss's agreement to delegate.


To work faster, consider how you could make admin more efficient. 'Making checklists for tasks you do frequently will speed up their completion,' says Toynbee. 'Use technology to help you and if necessary ask your IT support team for a tutorial on how you can tart up spreadsheets or whatever more quickly.' If you've got a colleague who does a similar thing to you, pool your ideas for doing the task better.

Face your boss

How you go about selling your plan to your boss is crucial. 'Though, if you have a family, you are legally entitled to ask for flexible working hours, though 'right to ask' is not necessarily a 'right to get',' says Toynbee. 'Whether you're a mother of two or young, free and single, you've got to make a business case to back up your idea.' That means explaining how your work objectives will get met even though you're not in the office five days a week. 'Having broken down your role, stealthily delegated and systematised your job, you can prove exactly how your work will be done in four days without stitching up your team,' explains Toynbee.

Know what you're getting into

If your boss okays your plan, you've got to agree strict boundaries. 'The reality is you still have to do five days worth of work - that's why you need to get stuff off your list of responsibilities asap,' says Toynbee. 'People pleasing isn't high on your agenda. Be precious about colleagues interrupting you and don't feel obliged to be the person who helps everyone with their problems. Above all, don't take work home. The only problem is, you'll never want to work a full five-day week again.'