A former BBC radio broadcaster tells about his experience of working four days a week in the 1970s
‘The four-day work system is a more civilized way. This is part of our future, it is inevitable, and this is the way we must go. The former BBC Radio Announcer recounted his experience of working four days a week while working on BBC Manchester Radio in the 1970s.
When companies consider their options for returning to work, many people begin to wonder whether reducing working hours should be the core of post-pandemic recovery. However, forward-looking workplaces implemented a four-day work week long before the pandemic. I interviewed David Hulme and talked about how his all-male newsroom working on BBC Manchester Radio in the 1970s was able to informally transition to four days a week.
Usually, the argument against the four-day work week stems from its assumed impracticality. When analyzing jobs that go beyond office departments and work outside of the nine-to-five shift model; successfully transforming these departments into a four-day work week is considered impossible. However, the case of a four-day work week has never focused solely on reducing all the working hours of everyone, but on the argument of maintaining and improving productivity, and giving workers flexibility and autonomy in working hours.
While working at the BBC Manchester Radio Station, Hulme recalled how they transitioned to the four-day work system, which is part of the newsroom work from Monday to Thursday and the other part of work on Friday, and two 12-hour shifts on weekends Rotate between. Although their working hours are usually longer than the traditional eight-hour working hours, Hulme and others in the newsroom welcome this shift because it means they have more time away from work to use as they please . The resulting work pattern of everyone in the newsroom is not exactly the same, so considerable flexibility and unity are required during the four-day week of work. Ensuring that workers have the ability to help shape shorter work weeks is the key to success for them and their work departments.
Obtaining employee autonomy is no longer the privilege of a few, because it is a necessity for all. Employees’ autonomy over working hours is essential to resolve the unequal gender distribution of time spent between paid work, care responsibilities, and free time.According to the data from Women’s Budget Group (WBG) The 2019 public opinion survey showed that four-fifths of respondents (79%) and three-quarters of men (75%) agreed that women and men should equally share the care of children and/or the elderly and disabled relatives. Nevertheless, the reality is still that women still take on 75% of unpaid care work globally.The pandemic has expanded this burden 2020 UN Women Report It shows that in all aspects of family life, more women than men report an increase in workload.
Hulme’s experience of working four days a week in an all-male newsroom provides an interesting and unique perspective on this issue. One point repeatedly mentioned in the interview is that Hulme recalled that one of the biggest benefits of working four days a week is that he can spend more time with his family and share the responsibility of taking care of the children with his wife. With a newborn daughter and an elementary school son, Hulme is happy to be able to play a bigger role in caring for the children. In the 1970s, he saw this as a unique opportunity when his expectation as a man was to support his family and work hard for as long as possible. Unfortunately, as a society, we have not yet changed these attitudes, expectations, and the consequences of the problems. Women still do most of the unpaid care work, but this case study shows that working four days a week is a way to give people, including men, more time to play a greater role in caring for their families.
David’s experience shows that it is possible to work four days a week without government support. The four-day week lasted for two years in the newsroom of the BBC Manchester Radio Station. However, for the newsroom of BBC Manchester Radio, this transition is not permanent. When the new manager takes office, he wants to return to their employment contract of 41 hours a week, 5 days a week. However, the fact that this shortened week was able to run for such a long time without being noticed by the London management is a testament to the fact that the quality of work and productivity have improved during this period.This is not surprising, as the shortened work week and increased productivity have been proven to be consistent in multiple trials New Zealand company, permanent guardian, Showing similar results.
In order to make the four-day work week a sustainable standard for all people in British society, important steps must be taken. Encouraging unions, individuals, and companies to innovate must be combined with the government’s commitment to a broader policy agenda, including increasing hourly wage rates, extending nursing leave, increasing public holidays, and gradual retirement.