For the entirety of my career, there has been an undercurrent of communication on the topic of the 40-hour work week. I’ve had four jobs since graduation and each tackled the 40-hour work week differently.
Here there was no overtime & I was hourly; we had to manipulate our hours so that we didn’t go over the 40-hour work week, which was both a blessing and a curse. With constant events at varying times, my hours were long and often kept me away from normal weekends.
No overtime once again, however I was switched to salary! The office closed every Friday at noon. We were still paid, and accrued PTO based on a 40-hour work week. At first, I was curious how this would work since everyone else we dealt with, the government and other businesses, did not follow this schedule.
It went so smoothly! We were more productive during the week as to meet this Friday by noon “deadline” and were never met by any opposition, only jealousy, from the groups and businesses we worked with.
Not to mention we were able to accomplish so much more in our personal lives and hardly ever had to miss work Monday-Thursday for personal appointments. We gave it our all Monday-Thursday and Friday until noon, and were able to enjoy our little extended weekends.
This company was a very unhealthy place for me. It started out as the golden opportunity, but I quickly learned this to be a “front.” Not only was the pay, environment, morals, and daily tasks, not as advertised, the work schedule was not either.
I was told that you could come and go as you please- but this only held true if you were one of the two owners. The other employees, myself and one other person, were to be on call at all times, with no guarantee of work. So, while this company pitched a great work schedule, it- like so many other aspects- did not pan out.
I am officially a year into working at my current company however on day one I was asked what hours I wanted to work. Shocked doesn’t begin to cover it haha.
What’s interesting, and nice, is if the job gets done, they don’t care what hours you make that happen in. For me, I started as an hourly employee working 32 hours a week and worked my schedule depending on other appointments, etc. throughout the week! If I had a doctor’s appointment on a Wednesday at 2 p.m., I could work longer on Monday perhaps, to offset the time away for the appointment. This also allowed me to nanny a few times during the week.
I quickly learned the ropes and moved into 40 hours each week. I’ve decided to work 8-4 to beat traffic on Monday-Friday. However, this week (thanks time change) I’ve been in the office earlier and earlier each day and choose to shave time off of my Friday so I can get to my weekend sooner.
For a more direct representation: I’ve worked a variation of times between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and will be off work at 2 p.m. on Friday.
Most of my coworkers work remotely on Friday’s and some other’s work 2 to 3 days remotely as well. Some managers will even tell their employees to sign off and enjoy the weekend early… just because.
Throughout my career, as I said earlier, there has always been an undercurrent of chatter regarding the 40-hour work week. Below, I’ve outlined the most recent chat I’ve had.
A few of my co-workers, past and present, don’t feel that a 40-hour work week is necessary! Additionally, the pull to work remotely has affected this decision. By cutting the work week down, and allowing employees to work remote, this forces stronger communication between employees.
How you ask? Think back to a time when a co-worker of yours was going to go out on vacation. You knew you couldn’t stroll into their office at any time and ask a bunch of questions. The time you had with them became more precious and you kept the conversation concise, I would assume.
We become happier. Think about how happy you are walking into a three-day weekend. Memorial Day perhaps! You are more rested, accomplish more at home and enjoy your time. Just like a much-needed vacation.
If this was every week, not only would you maximize the time spent working, but I believe you would maximize the free time away from work!
So what are your thoughts?
Do you work a variation of 40 hours a week? Does your company take a page from a few European companies I’ve read about, and pair 40 hours down to 32-35 each week? What are your thoughts? What’s your dream? I’m eager to hear as we step into the weekend- don’t forget to make it a good one & enjoy!