Back in 2017 I co-founded a media company in Cape Town and found myself in the unenviable position of employer. While we serviced some major entities in the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sector and created several job opportunities, I kept brutal hours. A four-day workweek would have helped with perspective and potentially pivoting better pre-pandemic.
The INFJ in me eternally leans towards optimism and I have to believe that 2020 may not have been the best year to launch 4 Day Week SA. While there were several lessons learned by stepping away from a company I helped build, if a four-day workweek was adopted, we may have been quite formidable.
South Africa is still a great place to do business in, despite load shedding, constant allegations of corruption, financial inequality and its legacy of apartheid. For employers, the burden weighs even heavier, as near-impossible decisions have to be made in this increasingly challenging climate. With lives literally at stake, employers are now responsible for more than just buying something for a rand and selling it for two.
Local business owners are not machines. Local business owners are people. People with families, mouths to feed and bills to pay. Maybe most of them were not ready to accept a four-day workweek for fear of it failing and their business going under. A reasonable thought, but here’s another: If an extra day off could relieve the constant stress, pressure to make payroll and impossible client demands, would you take it? David-John from 2017 would have happily signed on the dotted line and figured the rest out later. That’s the kind of grit most South African business owners and entrepreneurs are known for!
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David-John Wayne Bailey is an INFJ from Cape Town, a proud pioneer pilot participant of 4 Day Week SA and an advocate of a four-day week for everyone working in South Africa.