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Friday25 July 2014

We all have Friday off!

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The co-founder of Bauman Lyons explains why the practice is moving to a four-day week

For the next three months Bauman Lyons, a team of 10, will be working 38-hour week in four days. On Fridays the office will be closed. We have discussed collectively why and how we want to do this and we will record and review our experiences and those of our families, clients and collaborators and review in April whether to implement the five-in-four week permanently.

We are working a “five days in four” week because how we live as individuals has consequences for everyone else. The way we live now has created many problems: scarcity of resources, scarcity of jobs, climate change, wealth discrepancies and many wasted lives. These are all escalating problems which are not being addressed by the institutions of power: governments, banks, the multinationals have too many vested interests in the current system to be the agents of change.

We are not waiting for anyone else to resolve our problems. We are looking instead for how we can make our own small changes, which, if made by others too, could have a significant socially and economically beneficial impact.

One of these small changes is to alter the balance between work and private life.

The ultimate goal might be to reduce working hours but at the moment we are concentrating a full week into four days since we are a diverse group of people at different stages of life and we need time to learn how to work less and how to use our new free day and evaluate how this works for each one of us.

The concentrated way of working will encourage us to squeeze out waste such as commuting, unnecessary meetings, (we have already saved, in the first week, 20 man hours in not attending meetings and communicating instead through other means), being more selective about what work we compete for, (last year we secured one job in every three — this year we want this ratio to be one in two) and generally doing fewer things but doing them well.

As we make ourselves more productive, having an extra day off work will allow us time to form new habits, to actively engage with creation of the civic society which we must create to challenge the consumer society.

Each one of us has a different plan for the day off and we are all excited in anticipation. On the first Friday (tomorrow) we are looking forward to our interview on You and Yours, BBC Radio 4 about this idea, and to writing the blog: http://baumanlyonsarchitects.wordpress.com

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Readers' comments (21)

  • Munter Roe

    Fair play. I have always advocated a four day week. a 4 on 3 off is a good balance.

    Bit sceptical about your reasons: "scarcity of resources, scarcity of jobs, climate change, wealth discrepancies and many wasted lives".

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  • If you feel that your work is "wasting your life" you need to be doing some other kind of work.

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  • ......................and the point is???????????????????
    working 4 days per week will combat the institutions of power: Governments, Banks, the Multinationals....................

    i think you woulkd be best served making Fridays your think-tank session to address your concerns - try bringing in more work.

    good that you concentrat on what works for you and become more resource-efficient.

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  • @sceptical - it's that kind of thinking, that means architects get paid a pittance.

    Sure I love designing building, but it's not the only interest I have. Same for most architects. I would say someone who loved stamp collecting and did it constantly 24/7 is a bit sad, same for architects who put their work before family, friends, hobbies etc.

    This is a good idea but I don't think architects need to have their 4 day week

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  • The point is that Ms Bauman has some free publicity and a link to her website published in BD.

    I don't blame her - all publicity is of value - but claiming that the decision to work a four-day week is based on "scarcity of resources, scarcity of jobs, climate change, wealth discrepancies and many wasted lives" sound more than a little trite.

    But I wonder how steadfastly they will stick to the principle when a client insists on regular meetings on Friday...

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  • There needs to be an edit button - apologies for the inappropriate first line in my post, above.

    BR

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  • fatou jobe

    I think Bauman Lyons took a note from the Gambian president, who has declared a four day week for government workers http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21280766

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  • Architects should spend as much of their time as possible wandering through cities - not sitting in offices.

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  • The principle is great..I wonder however if cramming in 5 hours of hours into 4 days doesnt put even more burden on the 'invisible partners' who have to take on the strain of the work at home (especially with small children involved)...something a jolly Friday might not compensate for, especially in London where the commute to the office for some if not most of the staff will be around 90 mins door to door. The Cedric Price model might be better; get to work at 8 am and leave the office at 3pm...

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  • of course i meant 5 days of hours into 4 days

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