Compressed Working Hours

Working full-time hours but over fewer days definition of compressed working hours

I have been researching the idea of compressed working hours, and have had some really interesting conversations with colleagues in other sectors who have been working flexibly, in this way, for many years.

The pandemic has pushed us all, and we’ve come so so far in terms of adjusting to remote working, using technology to increase efficiency and modernising ways of working. Yet still the concept of 9 – 5 exists for many employees across industries, whether those people are physically required to be on site during set hours in order to do their job or not.

Here is some of the reading I found interesting when exploring the idea of compressed working hours:

In a search for case studies, I found this article too, and I was interested to see such a broad range of sectors, employers and job roles where the concept of compressed hours was working well:

No doubt one of the actions that piqued my interest was the appointment of our new CEOs – both working flexibly and as a job share. Before that I hadn’t really given a great deal of thought to my hours, simply put, I love my job and do what it takes to get the job done well.

My question to myself has been, could a different way of working be better for business and better for me personally too?

So, time for a new experiment!

I am going to be trying compressed working hours for the next 3 months. I’ll be working 4 longer days rather than 5 ‘normal’ days. Tune in here for honest reflections on how it’s working! Right now I’m excited about the idea and feeling positive about trying something new, the increases in productivity and perhaps even a bit more work/life balance.

It’s now 11th June and I’m 2 weeks into working compressed hours.

The honest truth is there have been both positives and negatives so far, unsurprisingly!

Firstly, I get a lot of uninterrupted work done after 5pm, the early evening has always been a really productive time for me and I’m definitely feeling the advantage of this window. I’m no stranger to working evenings but actually planning to do it feels surprisingly different and is really working for me.

I have had time on my ‘non-working days’ to do things I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve filmed some content for Birmingham City Council on the city’s parks, I’ve been able to be a better Non-Exec Director for the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, I’ve been able to say yes to a photo shoot for press, when I’d normally have struggled to fit it in and I’ve made strides in a number of other projects and initiatives that I work on outside of my day job.

I haven’t quite got it right yet, I’ve found myself working on all of my non-working days so far but I’m sure I’ll find better ways to reduce that as time passes. Not being at work 1 day a week is more of an adjustment than I expected.

The other challenge is balancing my personal life – for example, I was only able to make an early dinner invitation this week if the group were able to meet on my non-working day. I hadn’t really thought of this kind of issue – coming out of such a long lockdown I’d nearly forgotten that I used to go for drinks or dinner after work with friends and colleagues!

Onwards into week 3…

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