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Administrative Assistant and four 10-hour days

I've been at the same company for 24 years and for the past 18 I was lucky enough to work 4 days per week. It was incredible and made such a difference in my personal life and professional life. I felt like I had a balance. I've recently started a new position at the same company but my new boss is completely against working 4 (10 hour) days. She wants to know whets in it for her. I am incredibly hard working and loyal. My days and schedule would be completely flexible and I would make sure I would always be available during busy times, etc. I've also worked from home in previous positions and there's never been an issue with work not getting done. So, I don't know how to answer her question. There is nothing in it for her except an incredibly happy, balanced, employee. I think she is against the 4 days because she's unable to do it. That's my gut feeling. I think she would resent me for it. I work with an incredible group of people and they are all supportive of the four day work week. I know I can make it work as I have in the past. How can I sell it to my boss? I do not work in a customer oriented area so it's not critical that I be here all the time. We also use email and voice mail so it's not a matter of who will answer phones. Thank you, I appreciate any comments.

Submitted by: Debbie Williams


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Getting a new boss is like starting a marriage. It takes time to know each other. As an Administrative Assistant or Executive Assistant it is your job to do everything in your power to make your boss happy. You need to be the one who is flexible. It doesn't seem like you are getting off on the right foot by pushing the 4 day work week while others work 5 days. You might think that it's worked out in the past, but it doesn't work for everyone. You should have found out prior to accepting a new job what the work hours would be. This is something that should have been discussed in your interview. Insisting on working a 4-day work week will stress out your new boss and cause problems from the beginning. Down the road, once you've both become accustomed to each other's ways, perhaps she will change her mind. Anonymous on 4/7/2010 12:00:16 PM
Not knowing what type of industry you work in makes it a little difficult to answer your question, but if you are working as an executive secretary now and weren't before I am sure your boss needs you to be there each day as her assistant. We do have voice mail and e-mail these days, but someone does need to "man the fort". A personal touch is always better than voice mail. Although you would be an incredibly happy employee, would your boss be frustrated during your absence? Is she just accustomed to having her secretary there five days a week? Ask her for a trial period to see if the four days per week would work for her or not. She may find that it works quite well. Sometimes change is difficult to accept without trying it. Good luck. Anonymous on 1/27/2009 10:32:11 AM
"Administrative Assistant and four 10-hour days" Question?? are you the only one within the company with that schedule?? I'm sure the HR Department shared your file which no doubt included evals, etc. These would have noted how effective, efficient, etc you are - and specifically with the schedule of hours. Given this, your new boss would have been aware and would have been considerate of these circumstances. My advice is to approach the situation from a positive vantage point -- There is something in it for her -- as you stated 'a hard working, loyal, incredibly happy, balanced employee and highlight even more all of your accomplishments within that schedule. Offer to have the schedule tried out for a few months (you could determine the time frame based on what might be the busiest period for the company) and if it does not work out then be agreeable to the new adjustment. Remember, when a new chief is in town - sometimes there are changes we must comply with. Hope all goes well. Anonymous on 1/27/2009 10:30:51 AM
Decreased absenteeism. On a five-day schedule, employees are forced to cram their two days off with personal errands, chores, soccer games, and social outings. By the time Monday comes around, there hasn’t been a minute of rest and employees are just plum beat. So they call out of work. This wouldn’t happen so frequently if employees had a third day to accomplish the work they have to do outside of work. Of course, you had better not take off on a Monday unless you're really sick! Increased productivity. Workers become less efficient where no deadline looms. That’s why we’re more efficient in the week before vacation—we know we have to get it done by the time we leave. The same idea is transferable to a shortened workweek. Employees are least productive on Fridays so why not just eliminate them altogether? Improved job satisfaction and morale. Satisfaction with what goes on in the workplace may be tied to what goes on outside of the workplace. Employees who spend more time with family and friends, who have the flexibility of three days off, will return to work refreshed, and eager to work. Reduced personnel turnover. Not surprisingly, #4 leads to #5. Happier employees tend to leave less often. If they like the job, they’re more likely to stick around. Reduced energy costs. IF it's company-wide, by closing for three, instead of two, days each week, employers stand to recognize substantial energy costs. These costs can be significant where the schedule will actually permit the employer to close an entire facility for an additional day. Reduced traffic congestion. This potential effect may be seen largely on Fridays, which is the day most employers are converting to a non-working day. And, if your boss can be off on Friday as well, she has more time to devote to her personal needs. Masterg on 1/27/2009 7:16:22 AM
When you interviewed was it clear that your days/hours would remain the same? Or is this a new boss that are you supporting? I suppose I'm asking from a legal perspective. What's in it for her, hmmm she's the boss and you probably make a fraction of her salary however with your experience and talent you can make her professional life hum whether you work 5 days or 4. Quality is always preferred over quantity. Possibly you can offer her a trial period of 30-90 days of 4 day work weeks and if by that time she sees that she is truly lacking on that 5th day without you, you may have to adjust. But if you go above and beyond, which it seems that you've done to sustain your job for 24 years, then she'll see that what's in it for her is she'll have a day in the office to herself to do as she pleases knowing that her devoted assistant has made it possible for her to focus on her business and that everything is handled even when you're not present. gigi on 1/26/2009 5:28:04 PM
It is simply different bosses and have work ethics and that does happen within the same company. You may want to sit down with your boss and negotiate a flexible term of working hours/days off understanding between you and him/her and hope you can make your boss understand as to why you'd like 4 (10 hour) days. Best wishes, Submitted by Rohini Nanda Rohini Nanda on 1/26/2009 4:03:55 PM
I think you should talk with your new boss and see where you can come to a compromise. Realize that although you have been with the company for may years this boss has a right to his/her own way of doing things. be mindful and try to see things from the perspective of how this new boss could be more in need of your help on a 5 day a week way rather than an opportunity to change someone whom has just hired you. A new job/position is the opening of doors in your career; don't let it start the closing of others. Charlene West on 1/26/2009 2:41:32 PM
Obviously you did not check to see if the 4 day workweek was viable before you took this job, so you may have to bite the bullet and work 5 days if she does not even agree to summer 4 day work weeks (which is a good idea and a possible compromise). Are you so focused on getting what you want that you would start off on the wrong foot w/your new boss? Both of you have to get to know each other's work habits, etc., and she feels she wants you there 5 days a week. You are used to 4 days work weeks, but you may have to be flexible towards her way of working. Maybe later she will relax and allow you the 4 day work week. For now, you would do well to make some personal adjustments so that you will continue to get good performance ratings. You've got some challenges ahead working with a female boss. You'll need to pick and choose your battles or you'll lose the war. V AlVerta Harty on 1/26/2009 2:08:21 PM
Maybe have your new boss speak to your old boss to convince her that it worked well when you two did it and there was no down side for your previous boss. Andrea Ryba on 1/26/2009 2:06:26 PM
I've been working for my employer for 18 years and had the 4-10 schedule for part of that time. I've also had a 9-80 flex schedule with every other week a 4 day week. I'm now back on the normal 40 hour week. I understand your not wanting to give up a great schedule, I just did that myself. However, as much as I hate to say it, you may consider letting go emotionally from your old 4-10 schedule because it sounds like your new boss needs you there she is. If you're able to do this, then perhaps at some point the two of you can re-visit the option of a 4-10 schedule fo you. Deborah Reynolds on 1/26/2009 2:03:21 PM
I am so lucky that I have been at my job for 36 years and we have the four day work week in the summer only. I would love it all year round. We have been doing this for over 15 years. Others are catching on but mostly educational institutions and not-for-profit. Suggest the four day for summer only - the company saves on electricity, gas to and from work, etc. and people are happier - it's an incredible benefit. Most of us get more done 4 days a week than 5 days per week. We schedule doctor appointments, etc. on the Friday we have off. Good luck. Joyce Keller on 1/26/2009 1:53:02 PM

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