Who decided on the five-day, 40-hour work week anyway?
Is it really required in today’s ultra-streamlined, fast-paced digital world?
When you stop to think about it, people tend to find a way to fill up their time with things like Facebook, Twitter, checking email, texting, extended coffee breaks, etc. so their work stretches the course of the five-day week. Employees also take loads of personal days under the guise of a sick day too. You know it’s true, because you’ve done it. So if we all do it, why don’t we just decrease the time frame in which we do our work? You know…"get ‘er done," and go home.
I know when it comes to questioning my mental health, stress management and work-life balance, five days at work is not equal to two days at home. I’m not a math major, but that sounds like a pretty imbalanced equation.
A lot of companies say they offer a work-life balance, but do they really practice it?
I’m not talking about one Friday out of the month or Fridays off in the summer. I’m not talking 10-hour days to make up for the day off. And I’m definitely not talking about a decrease in salary or benefits in lieu of time off.
What I’m talking about is Fridays off. Forever.
Four-day work weeks. Eight-hour days. Full salary. Full benefits.
In 2009 I made the decision to move Urban Jungle to the four-day work week.
After my daughter was born the decision was easy. I wanted to spend as much time with her and my wife as I possibly could and the only way I could do that was to take an extra day for myself. It also didn’t seem fair to me that I would take this extra day for myself without giving it to my staff. While some questioned this move and thought it was too laid-back, over the course of the last three years I have found it to be the exact opposite.
Productivity is up. Creativity is up. Energy and enthusiasm are up. Instead of everyone thinking, “Ugh, it’s Monday," it’s, “Alright, it’s Monday! Let’s do this!"
Fridays off is hands down one of the best business decisions I have ever made for Urban Jungle.
Knowing we have Fridays off means we can bust out to the lake if we want to. We can cut the first tracks in the fresh powder at Marmott if we want to. We can use the extra day to catch up on errands, go to the AGA, read a book, bike in the river valley, pamper ourselves at the spa, and spend more quality time with our family and friends if we want to.
If you are an employee, push your management to rethink the work week. If you are a business owner, manager, or in HR I encourage you to rethink your company’s work week. I promise you will see a marked improvement in your office culture, starting with the staff and eventually trickling down to your customers. Over the last three years “sick days" and “personal days" at Urban Jungle are virtually zero.
Happy Staff = Happy Customers
Happy Staff + Happy Customers = Happy Boss
These are balanced equations everyone can understand.