I have just read an interesting blog which advocates a four day on, three day off work pattern with the same hours condensed into fewer days. I’m personally all in favour of changing work patterns to what suits the individual best, on the assumption that a happy employee is a more productive employee. I myself would probably go for the continental European style early start, no lunch hour (OK it’s a northern European style) and early finish. It does rather beg the question of how one would establish a working relationship with a CEO whose own preference was for bowling in after lunch and working into the small hours. Then again most bosses have quirks of some sort; for example the chap who never went out for a business lunch without appointing one of his companions as official carrier of the Tabasco bottle, just in case the restaurant didn’t provide that particular sauce.
Mais, mon ami, revenons á nos moutons. The blog posting that I reference above is written from the point of view of IT contractors, but the pros and cons as laid out still apply to interims at the level which I work at. Most importantly there is the question of day rate. As Winston Churchill would have said had he been an interim “Per diem rates are the worst way of structuring remuneration for senior level temporary staff, except for all the others”. Let’s be frank, the complete unsophistication of most clients (now there’s a subject for a future blog) would make it almost impossible to make this one fly. Secondly there is the availability issue. Given that most top team members – permanent or interim – are in effect on call 24/7 anyway then what would be the point of pretending to have a day off. On the other hand I once visited an electronics facility in California which belonged to GEC and operated a seven day fortnight with every other Friday off. I put it to the CFO that this was fine for the guys on the assembly line, but surely didn’t apply to him or to the rest of the management team. If Lord Weinstock wanted something then presumably he came in to work on it. But he assured me that wasn’t the case at all and that the three day weekend was sacrosanct. To this day I don’t know if that’s what really happened.
Reality, I feel, is better summed up by the late and great George Carlin “Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”