A standard work week occupies a significant part of an employee's daily life. Since the 1970s, attempts at alternate work schedules have come and gone. One popular accommodation to a traditional work schedule consists of employees working four days a week, instead of five. A Brigham Young University study showed that employees who worked a compressed work week were more productive and had better morale, while companies saved on utility costs.
Assess the Alternatives
A four-day work week typically consists of coming to the office for four days a week, made up of 10-hour shifts each day. Workers who choose this option may work four days in a row, or a series of two days with one day off in between. Companies also sometimes offer a slight variation of the schedule. For example, an employee can work 80 hours during the course of nine days rather than two weeks. This schedule allows for someone to work less than 10 hours per day, while having off an extra day every two weeks.
When scheduling a four-day work week, consideration must be given to the customer. Customers who are used to coverage on an 8-5 schedule every single day need to be addressed. To solve this potential issue, some companies require employees to alternate their off days so that the office is still open during all regular business hours. Companies also may require certain departments to work regular set hours while others can choose the flexible scheduling of a four-day work week.
Coping with Outside Demands
Adjusting to a four-day week work requires modifications to personal schedules. Drop off times for children at school and day care may need to be adjusted within families. While the extra day off during the week allows for additional freedom of scheduling appointments and activities, the longer regular days at work need to be taken into consideration. Extra help may have to be obtained for tasks usually completed before or after work.
Protecting the Day Off
One hazard to a four-day work week is not having the extra day off honored by yourself or others. Strict policies about the implementation of overtime help to enforce truly getting the additional day off during the week. At times, an employee may end up coming in on the fifth day for a few hours and end up staying longer than expected because the office is open and busy. This practice defeats the purpose of having a four-day work week and must be monitored.