Why isn’t the four-day week a utopia?

Scenes from Shoreditch
Shoreditch, 2018

Wired UK has a piece by Hazel Sheffield explaining “Why four-day working weeks may not be the utopia they seem.” To my practiced eye, one thing that the article does well is find a new example of a company that’s moved to four-day weeks, and hasn’t been written about much: Big Potato, a board game company in Shoreditch, London:

[Tris] Williams started a board games company called Big Potato with two co-founders in Shoreditch in 2014. It has since expanded to 20 people. Williams had always prided himself on running a progressive company. Big Potato offered its workers flexible working hours and cake and sandwiches on Friday lunchtimes, when everyone got together to play games. When he saw Perpetual Guardian’s story he said to his co-founders Ben Drummond and Dean Tempest: “We own a company, we can do what we want, let’s try it out.”

They end up moving to a four-day week and it went pretty well. So as the title puts it, why isn’t the four-day week a utopia?

Scenes from Shoreditch.
Shoreditch, 2018

Basically, it comes down to 1) not all companies or sectors can do it, 2) some implementations can be tough. Which is fair, but it’s a far cry from the “what manner of evil sorcery is this, foul demon?!?” kind of response the idea got even a year ago. If one of the tougher hits against the four-day week is that not everyone can do it– and the response to that is that not everyone works a five-day, forty-hour week right now, and that’s okay– then the ground is shifting!

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