A growing trend among businesses involves reducing the work week from forty to thirty hours. There are a number of factors which is contributing to this change, but many small business owners wander if reducing the work week will help or harm their business. There are both advantages and disadvantages to reducing the number of hours employees work, and it is important for business owners to weigh them carefully.
Advantages of a 30-Hour Work Week
Employees who work a 30-hour work week have less stress than those who work forty hours. Additionally, they also have reduced anxiety and are less prone to burn-out or illnesses. Reducing the work week by ten hours means that employees get forty hours per month to relax, unwind and spend more time with their families.
They will also stimulate the economy since more time and money will be spent on leisure activities. A thirty hour work week also benefits the environment because it means less time commuting back and forth to work, which means less emissions from greenhouse gas. Other indirect benefits include more time for employees to volunteer or take classes to learn new skills. Internationally, there are many nations which remain very productive with a 30-hour work week, and one of the best examples is Germany.
Disadvantages of a 30-Hour Work Week
The 30-hour work week may not work well for retail businesses, because fewer hours mean less time to service the needs of customers. Additionally, employees who are paid by the hour may not be thrilled with a thirty hour work week because it means a reduced income. A thirty hour work week is best for those that work in the knowledge industry, as they regularly work more than fifty hours weekly. As for employers, there are no advantages to be gained in terms of lower healthcare or benefit costs.
Large companies can compromise with a 30-hour work week better than small businesses because they have the sufficient workforce to cover the hours which have been vacated. For small businesses that only have a handful of employees slashing work hours can be more problematic. Solutions for small businesses include giving everyone the same off days, rotating off days or establishing workplace quotas.
The 10/40 system is another alternative that smaller businesses can use. With this system employees would work four days per week at ten hours per day. While the workday will be increased, most employees will find that the increased days off are beneficial. When it comes to the number of hours worked, it is important to realize that sometimes less is more, and vice versa.
Employers that motivate and treat their employees with respect will make the workplace more attractive, which will increase the energy of employees which ultimately leads to higher productivity, even if they are working ten hours less per week. When structuring work hours, employers must determine the costs and benefits. Remember, there are no right and wrong solutions, and what works for one company may not work for another!