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Jul 12, 2017

Working eight hours a day, five days a week is commonplace across many businesses in the U.S. But what if you could replace that “9 to 5” with an “8 to 6” or a similar 10 hour situation, eliminating one day of the traditional workweek? 

Some companies allow a four day workweek, while others don’t. Similarly, some have enacted policies only to revoke them years later. Because, as with everything, there are pros and cons to a longer days, and shorter weeks. Here are some examples:

Pros of a Shortened Workweek -

For many employees, one more day of the weekend (or a day off mid-week, depending on how companies create their guidelines) means one more day of leisure. A four-day week can help lessen the cost of childcare and assistance of the elderly for certain workers. Employees who choose to come in earlier to meet the 10 hour mark enjoy a quieter office, which is also ideal for those who prefer working mornings. Something all commuting workers need - gasoline - can be saved too with a shorter workweek. 

An extra day off can help foster family togetherness and encourage workers to take more vacations or restful trips. Implementing a four day workweek would give employees an extra 52 days off a year. Companies such as Treehouse, which utilized a four-day week for many years, saw happier employees during that time. 

For businesses, having employees not in the office one day can reduce energy costs, as there’s no need for lighting. Other maintenance costs, such as heating and cooling, diminish as well. In addition, companies that provide snacks and drinks would have to buy less. 

Cons of a Shortened Workweek-

With the good, comes the bad. Fatigue can set in easier when working longer hours, which in turn can lead to stress and a general negative impact on one’s health. Shortened workweeks cause employees to essentially cram in more hours into a normal day, which can lead to overworking and burnout. It is widespread knowledge people do not perform as effectively when tired. 

Trouble can arise depending on when the work day of a 10 hour shift would begin. For example, if a worker starts his or her day at 9 a.m., that person will be working until 7 p.m., erasing prime time for engaging with children after school - should he or she be a parent. 

If the entire company’s days off do not match up, other issues can arise. If someone is off on a Wednesday, while others are not, the potential for picking up that person’s work because he or she is not present in the office is palpable. Logistically speaking, scheduling meetings can be strenuous if people are off different days. 
Another potential pitfall that already plagues American workers? Work could also leak into off hours with a longer day, because the times begin to blur. 

Things to Consider with a Shortened Workweek-

Despite the cons, companies do still allow four day workweeks. In order to be successful and see the pros, there are certain measures to consider, such as:

-Planning ahead and communicating with every employee what needs to be done. 
-Overlapping schedules so the office is always open and ensuring the company is comfortable with it. Communicating here will make certain people aren’t taking on others’ work. 
-Starting small. Diving straight into a four day work-week may be a struggle, so beginning with half days off could introduce the idea and realities of the policy more strongly. 

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