Changes in the Work Week

The work week that we know, the good ol' 9-5, might remain a corporate norm. 

Recently, corporations and businesses have noticed a change in employees' productivity and happiness. Introducing remote work at the beginning of the pandemic forced companies to adapt to working from home. Employees saw how easy it was for companies to make this adjustment and realized their happiness and comfort are necessary for success. 

When thinking about it - why do we work 9-5, and when did it start? I did the research, so you don't have to. It turns out the King of Working America, Henry Ford, created the 9-5 in 1926 to cut down the hours of his assembly line workers. Through his research, Ford found that workers were much more productive in shorter periods instead of on long work days. 

Fast forward to the present day, employers are noticing employees struggle with an imbalanced work/life balance. Remote work proved to increase productivity for employers, and it seems they are willing to give back time if that makes work more successful. 

Employers are trial running different work week structures, and the two most popular layouts are the four-day work week and 9/80. Here is a breakdown of these work week structures and what they mean for productivity. 

The four-day work week has become the most common adjustment, and it entails that: working four days a week. Every company has a different idea of what that means, and it could mean squeezing 40 hours across 4-days or cutting down the business to only 32-35 hours a week. 

Businesses in the U.K. are testing the four-day work week with a 6-month trial, and now three months of surveys are in for review. Nearly half of the survey respondents said that productivity changed the same (or improved) after cutting a day out of the work week. 86% of respondents said they most likely will continue to enforce the four-day work week outside the trial period. 

The biggest fear C-suite level executives had was that the four-day work week would decrease productivity, but a decrease in productivity was proven otherwise. 

The up-and-coming work week suggestion is 9/80 and would mean squishing 80 hours of work into nine days, and the 10th-day employees will have off. The 9-day work would look like this:

  • Monday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (the second week begins)
  • Weekend: Employees are off both Saturday and Sunday
  • Monday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-hour lunch break, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Friday: Employees earn the day off

A study has yet to begin for this structure, but it is laid out in the hope to encourage employees to gain another day back in their lives for themselves. As a staffing agency, we know the most important value to candidates is the time they can get back for their personal lives. 

We hope to see the future of the workweek shift to what is best for both the company and its employees. 

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