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The Time I Gained 516 Hours
The biggest challenge to adjusting to a four day work week was changing my shoes. Once I switched from three inch heels to sensible flats, the benefits of squeezing forty hours into four days became obvious.
I am a speech language pathologist (SLP) who, for ten months, worked ten hour days in a hospital in Los Angeles county. I was given the freedom to select my “day off” which made this schedule even more conducive to a freer life.
I worked 7:30am to 6:00pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. My days were long, but sped by because being an SLP is incredibly fast paced and rewarding. Working only one day after two days off alleviated the Sunday Blues from my life and upon returning to work having only three days to go until another break made the entire week feel that much more manageable.
That bonus day off only added another 12 hours to my week, but mentally it freed me from the usual weekend rush and drain that many working folks contend with on a regular five day schedule. I maximized my Tuesdays off to allow my weekends to be restorative and filled with family time. I believe when early labor rights fighters pushed for a forty hour work week they intended workers to have time not just to do the labor of managing their lives and households, but to engage in meaningful and restorative practices for their overall health and quality of life. This is exactly what a four day work week gave me.
My hours afforded me the luxury of time. I was able to do my weekly grocery shopping at three stores instead of the one that was most convenient with hopefully the best prices or the one that had the best prices, but not the selection to achieve a healthy diet. This luxury of time allowed me to clean my house on a day when most of the people I loved were at work or school which meant I didn’t have to choose between relationships and living in the clean home that we all deserve (but so often lack the time to create). This luxury of time, even with all the work I did on my day off, gave me freedom to relax independent of others needs.
This schedule was also beneficial to my employer and patients. I was in the building for two extra hours a day which allowed for late evaluations for new patients as well as more options to make up missed sessions due to a patient being unavailable during their scheduled time. My longer hours gave my employer greater flexibility in meeting the needs of our patients. When an organization is able to provide better customer service (which in this case was medical care), all will benefit.
Creating flexible work environments can work in almost any industry. It may not be possible for all the employees in one given location or department to have a flex schedule or a non-traditional schedule but with effort on the part of employer and employees many companies could achieve a stronger, healthier workforce. Healthy and rested workers are often better employees which should be all the incentive a business needs to examine, and hopefully institute, scheduling flexibility.
About Kristi Reisch
Kristi Reisch is a mom, speech language pathologist, activist, and runner (or at least working to earn the title runner). She supports universal healthcare because she believes all human beings should be able to see a doctor when they are sick and before they are sick. Kristi is an advocate for LGBTQIA equality and fiercely believes individuals should be able to live their authentic lives on their own terms. She is anti-racist and knows that the fight for racial justice intersects with every other fight for justice and human rights.
540WMain will celebrate its 4 year anniversary with a party and extravaganza on Saturday June 20, 2020. In just four years the organization has become a pillar in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood and a convener and curator of important and vital community conversations, classes, and programs. Your financial support helps us scale up this work in 2020 and beyond with a year long fundraising goal of $40,000