Saturday 20 July 2019

This Irish expat works four days a week for a five-day pay cheque - and he gets to live in the sunshine

John McKiernan is originally from south Dublin
John McKiernan is originally from south Dublin
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

An Irish expat working for a tech startup in Australia has shared how working 'smarter, not harder' allows him to do a four-day week - for a five-day pay cheque.

Originally from south Dublin, John McKiernan (34) spent several years after completing his Arts degree travelling the world, supported by roles including travel writing - around south America and Canada - and as part of a rock band in London.

But his love of Australia, after first visiting the country as part of a university exchange from UCD, and of a woman - he met a girl named Lauren during this trip who would become his wife over a decade later - brought him back to his current home in Sydney.

In 2013, McKiernan launched an enterprise penning songs for people and businesses called 'Romance Outsourced' but he has also recently taken up a role as Marketing Manager at Code Barrel.

Eight months into the position, the new father-of-one has written a blog post reflecting on how other companies - and their employees - could take a similar decision to work a shorter week, without losing productivity.

"Every week we have one day off (Monday or Friday) and every 4 weeks, we switch days. The roster is set up to ensure there is always enough people to retain our high customer support standards. Though growing, we are still a small team of 7 so it’s not too complex," he writes.

"There are no catches. We only work longer days when we need to, which is normal for any five-day week company and our weekends are sacred. Essentially we have 52 extra days of annual leave per year."

As unconventional as the idea might sound, Code Barrel - which sells an app that automates tasks - launched as a 'lifestyle' company to maintain employee happiness and a sustainable business.

McKiernan cites several studies that reveal the average employee only spends three hours of an eight hour day actually working, and that productivity in the workplace can be directly linked to employee professional happiness.

But, what everyone wants to know, is how does he spend his time off?

"In short, anything we want. Typically, I treat it as a half day. I work or educate myself for half a day and then spend time with my family for the other half," he wrote, before describing his last free day.

"I woke at 6am. I used to do this voluntarily. Now my 8-month-old Chloe demands it. I play with her for an hour, allowing my wife the luxury of a 7am sleep in after too many night feeds. After breakfast, we put Chloe down for her morning sleep and I spend two hours writing the skeleton of this article and updating the website for my own side business.

"I check Slack to make sure there is nothing urgent I am missing out on. I then get all of my life admin done (post office, haircut, petrol, groceries) before picking the girls up again to go swimming. We all splash around in a near-empty pool for an hour — spending the kind of quality family time that is usually squashed into a traditional weekend."

John's full blog post can be read here

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