a married couple enjoying coffee

What if every weekend was a 3 day weekend? Considering the Compressed Workweek.

In a society where life is becoming increasingly complex we sometimes need a job that can be flexible beyond the normal 9-5, 9-7, 8-10pm Monday-Saturday timeframe.  The compressed workweek can battle the rigidity of traditional schedules while still allowing for employee productivity.

What is a compressed workweek?

The compressed workweek involves working more hours four days a week in exchange for not having to work the fifth.  The employee still works the 40-45 hours required per week; the only difference being that those hours are squished onto other days.   It is important to note that extra day off is not intended for work of any kind.  This is not a telecommuting or alternative location arrangement.

With that in mind, here are some considerations when inquiring about a compressed workweek:

1) Does your company already have a policy?  Many companies have compressed and flextime policies and procedures already on the books.  Read up on your company’s specific policy to see if a compressed schedule is possible and what steps to take.

2) Talk to your manager. A consistent theme in HR literature reveals that managers are often the gatekeepers to all sorts of alternative work arrangements.   Have a conversation with your supervisor to see if this is possible.  Why not be a trend setter?

3) Make it an occasional thing.  Some employers may not be a fan of the weekly compressed schedule.  That being said, there is no reason why you can’t work a compressed week occasionally or on part-time basis.  Doing so could give you that three or four day weekend without burning vacation time.

4) Make it a seasonal thing.
  Most businesses have a “crazy” time and a “lazy” time.  Not being at work during crazy periods could make for a more stressful work environment overall or lead to calls/communications from your office on your extra day off.  Who needs that?   You may have better luck pitching a compressed workweek during points in the year when things are calmer and there is less chance of stressful deadlines and situations popping up.

5) Consider mid-week.  We all want that long weekend but maybe taking Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday off is the better way to go.  If deadlines at your workplace revolve around a specific day of the week then build your new schedule around that.   If deadlines are usually on Fridays or Mondays then the long weekend approach may not be so popular.

6) Pitch the benefits of a compressed workweek to your supervisor.  Some bosses may not like the idea or not see the benefits (other than you getting a day off) to compressed workweeks.  Here are some positives that you should bring up

  • Increased employee satisfaction (more time off = a more satisfied employee)
  • Increased employee retention (more satisfied employee = a more likely to stay employee)
  • Decreased attendance problems such as lateness, absenteeism, and calling in “sick” (if an employer agrees to a compressed week there is no excuse to be late, or lie about why you can’t go into work.  Not that there ever really is a good excuse to do this).
  • Increased productivity (Largely due to increased morale but also the fact that you a larger block of time daily allows for more to be done with less interruptions.
  • More hours of coverage (Working later may also mean that the company will be open longer.  In a customer service environment this can be especially useful).

Final thought…

The compressed workweek is just another tool as you strive for work-life perfection.  It may be appropriate as a weekly occurrence or may be a nice way to accommodate key events in your life.  In either case what is important is that we seek work arrangements that allow us to flourish both inside and outside of the boardroom.

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Dr. Paul Artale is a motivational speaker, author, and organizational coach who helps organizations create high performance culture through understanding employee needs and leveraging their strengths.

  Please visit www.paulartale.com for more information.

#shrm #hr #humanresources #worklifebalance #leadership #manager #virtualwork

How Do You Want Work and Vacation to Interact?

Taking a vacation from work is something we all need to do more often.  The American worker does not take enough of their given vacation time at any given point. A recent study done by GfK Knowledge Panel found that 55% of Americans had unused vacation days in 2015. Beyond whether or not workers are taking vacation comes the issue of how work and personal life interact with each other when vacation time is taken. Listed below are five scenarios that are common to us all. Don’t look at any scenario as the “right way.”  Instead, think of which scenario best suits your personal tastes. How you choose to navigate vacation is perfectly fine as long as it is your choice.

Scenario 1: No (or little) Vacation. Vacation? Who needs that when you got work to do and money to make. If your company will pay you for unused vacation days when you leave then you have even less reason to take days off.   Work hard and cash those days out when you move on.

Scenario 2: Vacation Taken/Time Donated.  Vacation sounds great so you decide to take it. You are so happy to visit the parents two states away or visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’re out of the office physically (you even set up your autoreply telling people that) but you are on your cell phone or laptop every chance you get to deal with work. You’re donating your vacation/personal time to the company and you’re glad to do it (or are you?).

Scenario 3: The Work-cation. You’re with the parents or at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and for a finite amount of time a day you have decided to deal with work so that things are manageable when you get back. You’ve negotiated with your boss that you’re going to claim 6 hours of vacation per day instead of the standard 8. There’s less chance of negative spillover because you are prepared for and agree to the terms.

Scenario 4: The On-call Vacation. . You go on vacation and you tell work to only contact you in an emergency or on an as-needed basis. How you report your time will depend on the scenario. I once had to deal with an incident while on vacation that ate up a day so we didn’t input that as a vacation day. That was rare and most of the time small interruptions were ok as they did not eat up major time.

Scenario 5: True Vacation. Turn off the tech and enjoy the time off. I think this is the concept of vacation most of us expect or at least were raised to expect. For many of us the world of work is far more complex but this is still a great and desirable option. The downside of course is having mounds of email and tasks to do when you get back. You’re willing to deal with that because recharging your batteries here and now is what matters most to you.

Like I said, there is no right or wrong in any of these scenarios and there may be times where one of these options is going to be the most logical. The key is to exercise control over these scenarios.  It is when the scenarios are dictated to us that we begin to feel burned out, undervalued, or insignificant. Being forced to unplug from work can be just as ineffective as having vacation eaten up by office assignments.   Understand and advocate for how you want your work and vacation to interact and increase your work life satisfaction.

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Dr. Paul Artale is a motivational speaker, author, and organizational coach who helps organizations create high performance culture through understanding employee needs and leveraging their strengths. 

For more information visit www.paulartale.com

#shrm #hr #humanresources #worklifebalance  #leadership #manager #vacation