What if you told your employees that they didn't need to work a 40-hour week anymore? As the recession continues, your search to decrease expenses without sacrificing quality is priority number one, and if it makes your employees happy, even better.
One way to create a win-win for both your organization and your employees is to offer a 32-hour workweek. This option will not exist for all functional areas of your business, but it can be a viable way to increase employee satisfaction without decreasing quality or quantity of work in some areas.
How a 32-hour workweek can benefit your business:
Attracts a Higher Quality Employee
There are many highly-qualified and over-qualified employees who would gladly trade income for time off. Why would they do that in this economy? They want or need time to:
- Care for relatives (children, grandchildren, or parents)
- Continue their education
- Pursue personal goals
Their willingness and ability to forgo a day's pay each week can greatly benefit your company. Supply and demand will work in your favor: a surprising number of people want to find a job with reduced hours, but there aren't many positions available. As ironic as it sounds, you may find more highly-qualified employees by reducing the number of work hours for certain positions.
Working only as long as it took each day to complete the necessary tasks would dramatically change the landscape at your office. You might see: fewer people surfing the internet, fewer non-work related chats with co-workers, and/or workers performing other non-work related tasks.
Right now, you are paying people to do these non-productive tasks because they know they have to fill 40 hours each week with some type of activity, productive or not. This wasted time at work adds up and it's not cheap.
Without incentives to work faster, eliminate unnecessary tasks, or find more efficient ways of doing things, you have wasted time. Reducing the amount of time needed to complete a job will apply the necessary pressure to find other ways of doing things, even if it simply means reducing the amount of time workers spend shooting the breeze with co-workers.
There are other reasons why a 32-hour workweek can help that may not directly impact your bottom line. Many green-minded individuals support the notion of commuting one day less per week in order to make a huge impact on U.S. energy savings. In the end, reduced hours can bring savings right to the bank.
Test the Waters
You can test out this theory by asking for volunteers to work 32 hours a week instead of 40 for a trial period of a few weeks. What happens to their productivity during the trial run? If productivity and performance remains the same with reduced hours, it means that you could be paying less for the same amount of work, and probably have a happier employee.