Oakley Studio has been in business since 1996. Like many businesses, it is quite different today than it was back in those early days of the internet. Over the past quarter of a century, my business has gone through several significant “pivots” to arrive at the particular mix of services offered here today. Oakley Studio has always been a one-person business, but it has not always been a “full-time” business. I actually operated Oakley Studio part-time for about a decade before going “all in,” as they say. It was 2007 when I quit my part-time job in the IT department of a small college in Indiana. By then, my business was growing, and I was ready to make it my full-time job. Going full-time was one of those pivots that took my business to a new level. And today, some seventeen years later, I am preparing to pivot again… I am switching to a 4-day work week.
The 4-Day Work Week and Retirement
Changing my normal work hours from five days to four days is not a biggie for a one-person business. It would be a bigger deal if I had employees. There have been many times when I thought I could use more help, and also many times when I had lots of time on my hands and nothing urgent to attend to. And now, twenty five years after starting this business, I’m looking forward to eventually retiring from the business and enjoying more personal pursuits. Switching to a 4-day work week is a beginning step in ramping back my time in the business. I will be working Monday through Thursday. Friday will be the start of my weekend.
As it happens, my wife is also working to rearrange her schedule of teaching at UNM here in Albuquerque in order to free up Fridays for longer weekends and more personal time. We’re fortunate to be a “TINK” couple (two incomes no kids) and we have managed to save plenty of our earnings for the golden years. We can decide when we retire. We can decide how we get there. A 4-day work week is a fine way to start easing into it.
Are You an Oakley Studio Client?
If you are an Oakley Studio client, rest assured the web servers and email servers will keep running 24/7 and your website and email hosting is not going away. You’ll still be able to reach me by all the same means – email, phone, text etc. And don’t forget the Support page here at our Oakley Studio website. If you have an emergency, of course call me! Any time! (And please leave a message if I don’t pick up.) I will continue to receive your messages and respond appropriately. But on a 4-day work week, your Friday messages probably won’t receive replies until Monday or Tuesday.
Retirement is coming, but it’s not on my radar just yet. I recently got a call from a client who wished to take down their website. They were closing their business. I asked if he was retiring, and he laughed. “I have other businesses, I may never retire. You know I’m 74 years old!?” No, I did not know that. I was surprised, but not very. When you are doing something you love, you never want to stop.
Less Hours, More Learning
I’ve been reading about other businesses that have gone to a 4-day work week. It’s a big thing in France, apparently. Iceland just completed a 4-year study of businesses on the 4-day plan, and report increased productivity, less stress, greater personal satisfaction, and increased loyalty among employees. Other experiments are being encouraged in Spain, New Zealand, Scotland, and Japan. France instituted a 35-hour work week in 2000. This year they are considering cutting it again to 32 hours. Some companies offer “flex hours” to trim the work week to 30 hours, and let their employees choose their days off.
In my business, technology is always evolving. You may find this to be the case in your own business. We can’t control how fast things change. So we manage the change by learning, adapting, and gaining expertise. Reading and learning are crucial to my job – probably yours too. And learning need not be limited to the work hours. I’m interested in technology, and I am reading all the time. Including Fridays.
You can spend the better part of a lifetime building a business, but at some point your gaze begins to focus farther out – contemplating all the other things you could be doing with whatever time remains, and spending more time with the people you love.
My new 4-day work week begins October 1, 2021.