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I'm currently looking for jobs and I would love for it to be a four-day affair (reduced hours, not full hours squeezed into fewer days). I value free time way more than the money I can get for it and besides I genuinely believe I can offer the company way more productivity if I have more space outside work to get involved in my own projects instead of getting burned out with the monotony of a 40h-week grind.

It's worth noting that the four day thing is not a hard line on my side. I would be willing to work full time (and overtime) for the right company with the right mission etc. but otherwise I'm pretty picky. I would consider a sub-optimal opportunity if it includes a four day week. That's why currently I think a salary negotiation period might be an appropriate time to discuss this, kinda as a way to communicate "offering me more money won't make me more likely to join, but fewer hours will". But there are other options too - maybe it's better to be completely upfront about it and risk the companies being discouraged from pursuing interviewing me, or maybe its better to be patient, establish myself at a role and then ask once I've proved myself?

About me: I'm an embedded software dev with a pretty strong background but in an awkward phase of having a couple of years professional experience but not enough to consider myself a senior dev. The location is non-London UK.

  • Do you want the fewer hours that comes with a 4-day week, or are you okay with longer work-days? A lot of companies offer flexible schedules which have 1 or 2 days off in a pay period, but the extra hours are just moved to other work days, so you're working 9 or 10 hours a day. – David K Mar 26 at 12:50
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    @DavidK - Yes, I do want proportionally fewer hours and I'm happy to take an appropriate cut in my pay to go along with it (even though I think my actual productivity would not change proportionally to hour reduction). – EmbeddedBob Mar 26 at 12:52
  • I hope you can find what you're looking for. I think there are some (potentially major) obstacles in your way, so you might want to consider them (if you haven't already). 1. Saying that you can provide 40 hours worth of productivity in only 32 hours is basically saying you're wasting 8 hours per week. You can attribute that to burn out due to the "monotonous grind" of a 40 hour work week, but I suspect most people's reaction will be "40 hours isn't that much." – Anthony Grist Mar 26 at 13:06
  • Related question: Do part-time programming jobs exist? – David K Mar 26 at 13:14
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    It's also worth pointing out that many benefits are calculated or accounted for against a 40 hour week. Something with a fixed cost to the employer may not scale according to a discounted salary, for instance. Even if your hiring manager is OK with your proposed schedule, the accounting or HR departments may refuse to play along. – dwizum Mar 26 at 14:38
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During the first interview, or even your application.

If you wait to tell your potential employer this information and then they decide that they cannot offer you a 4 day work week then you have wasted both your time and the employers time.

Do it as soon as possible.

If you are willing to work full time then potentially during the negotiation phase would be a good time to point this out. You may be able to negotiate your hours for less money however if this is rejected it may put you into a weaker position for negotiating a 5 day week.

  • It's worth noting that the four day thing is not a hard line on my side. I would be willing to work full time (and overtime) for the right company with the right mission etc. but otherwise I'm pretty picky. I would consider a sub-optimal opportunity if it includes a four day week. That's why currently I think a salary negotiation period might be an appropriate time to discuss this, kinda as a way to communicate "offering me more money won't make me more likely to join, but fewer hours will". – EmbeddedBob Mar 26 at 13:22
  • @EmbeddedBob The thing is, your value to the company is a lot higher than they pay. You removing a working day costs them a lot more than it will show on your salary and a lot of companies may not be willing to do this. – Twyxz Mar 26 at 13:42
  • @stannius No employer hires staff to help the employee out. They do it to benefit in their company, get work done, to make money. – Twyxz Mar 27 at 7:30
  • @stannius Most employees don't ever make it over 100k a year. Many employees worth around that value make the company millions. – Twyxz Mar 27 at 14:57
  • @Twyxz it's the exception for any company to have that kind of profit margin. – stannius Mar 27 at 17:15
2

Since you mention you'll work full time for the right company, you'll have to have at least one interview to get a feeling for the company.

For me, I have always mentioned working 4 days in my first interview. It is one of the questions I have when they ask "Do you have any questions for us?". You could ask something like "Do you have any opportunities to work -amount of hours- instead of full time?".

I have never had a counter question of "why?" and if they don't ask I would definitely not offer reasons why. If you must, I would suggest you stick to you valuing your free time. Do NOT suggest their hard working fulltimers are slacking off (and you could do the work in 32 hours/week) or their assignments being 'a grind'.

By doing this during the interview, you have the chance to clarify it's not a hard line for you, you can get a feeling if it's totally frowned upon (with no chance of getting it later), or if they're open to the idea (but maybe not now).

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Given the weightage of this condition you hold, mention this while applying for the position itself.

  • In case the company is not is a position to offer you that - both of you will save some time.
  • In case the company is ready to accept, then only they will go ahead with further process.

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