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Are You Considering a Shorter Work Week? Consider This First.


One of the most recent topics of conversation amongst business leaders has been whether or not there should be some sort of modification or revamping of employee work schedules. Just over a year and half ago, accommodating employee work schedules hadn’t really been a topic of concern for most businesses. Yet, here we are, nearly two years into the pandemic and businesses are having a difficult time retaining or gaining talent and manpower. Why, has this become such a topic of great concern for many businesses? To begin, employees are returning to work and realizing, when it comes to better employment opportunities, they really hold all the cards. You see, during the pandemic, most employees did not sit stagnant. In fact, most employees in the work force, took advantage of working virtually from home. Being able to access all they need, virtually, has allowed many employees the opportunity to free up a significant amount of extra time to better themselves. In other words, employees were taking advantage of their extra time and were beefing up their credentials with new degrees, certifications, and continual education programs (CEPs).

Realizing they now bring much more to the table; employees are now requesting that their newly founded skill sets, and knowledge should reflect in pay. Now, of course, employers cannot afford to give every employee a raise, but it is still in the company’s best interest to retain as much skill and talent as possible rather than losing them to a competitor who will pay or offer more. This brings us to employee work schedules.

Across the globe, employers have been experimenting with shorter work weeks. Trying to convince employees that less hours at work and more time off, really became a tough sale, especially here in the U.S. In fact, during the Great Depression, the U.S. tried to limit the work week to 30 hours in attempt to share work for as many people as possible. President Roosevelt, however, would soon drop support for the bill during WW II, citing that a 40-hour work week would be best to support the war effort. From that moment the only other attention received on the topic was by President Nixon who never achieved mainstream support on the issue.

Today, employers are considering reviving a topic that has not been considered for nearly half a century. Employers are now considering the option of offering a shorter work week to attract or maintain talent and manpower. The reality is, the more out of touch an employer is with their people, the harder it is to make this decision. Whether they offer four days a week, 10-hour workdays, a 30-hour workweek with increased benefits, or if they just stick with a 40-hour workweek, employers need to be well entuned with their employees before they make a decision like this.

Take the time to reacquaint yourself with your people. Find out what is it they need to succeed. What new skills they’ve learned. More importantly, GET THEIR BUY IN. Until you do that, you shouldn’t make any plans to make such a drastic change. You just may lose more talent in the process.

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