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Replacing the Conventional Five-Day Workweek

The five-day, 40-hour workweek goes as far back as 1926 when Henry Ford replaced his six-days-a-week work schedule with a five-day workweek, with no change in compensation. His motivation? He thought his workers would become more productive and use their extra time off spending their money.

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    Replacing the Conventional Five-Day Workweek

    Replacing the Conventional Five-Day Workweek

    The five-day, 40-hour workweek goes as far back as 1926 when Henry Ford replaced his six-days-a-week work schedule with a five-day workweek, with no change in compensation. His motivation? He thought his workers would become more productive and use their extra time off spending their money.

    The pandemic has seriously dented this 100-year-old work schedule model, as the taste of working from home and flexible schedules has left workers wanting more of it. Employers have responded, although somewhat reluctantly in some cases.

    There are plenty of ideas of how the future of work may look.

    One of the most popular is the compressed workweek, which simply means fitting the standard 40 hours into fewer days—typically four. This model may be particularly attractive to companies with heavy workloads, such as retail, health care and manufacturing.

    A fully remote work experience, aka telecommuting, is another option. The growth of technology and the generally productive experience of working from home during the pandemic have shown this model can save employees commuting costs and employers office costs.

    An increasingly popular approach is customized work schedules, which allow employees to set their own hours, structuring them around personal obligations, such as childcare. Of course, this requires highly efficient management to ensure that workers can properly collaborate.

    One impact of the pandemic is that many individuals decided they wanted to work less. That’s why job sharing is emerging as a way to tap into a larger labor pool. Job sharing involves two individuals working part-time to meet the needs of a full-time role. Job sharing is already widely practiced and may gain greater traction in the years ahead.

    Some other possible work models may require a bit more getting used to, such as:

    • Results-Only Work Environment, in which employees are evaluated by the quality of their work and the results they generate, rather than by the number of hours worked. Best Buy employs this model.
    • Life Phase model, whereby employees can choose from a menu of work-hour options (e.g., standard five-day week or flexible schedule) and, as they near retirement, the workweek downshifts to four-day weeks and then three-day weeks.
    • Split Schedule model, which splits the work schedule (e.g., from 7 – 10 a.m. and from 1 – 5 p.m.). This allows employees to attend to personal responsibilities during the midday downtime break.

    Of course, work schedules also need to be productive and efficient for employers, which may be why the future won’t see one model come to dominate for the next 100 years, like the five-day model did. Instead, it may be a mix of models that reflect the best choices for the unique needs of employers and employees.

     

    Please reference disclosures at: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/

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