We all have Friday off!
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