Should the traditional 40-hour workweek be reduced? If the required number of working hours were to be reduced to 30 hours how would it impact your business? This subject has been up for debate over the last few years. How would your business run if your employees worked 10 hours less per week?
One of the arguments in favor of a shorter workweek is that employees working fewer hours tend to be more productive. Germany already has one of the world’s shortest workweeks. There appears to be no detriment to the German economy when fewer hours are worked. If it is true that workers tend to be more productive due to less stress, it may follow that your workforce could achieve just as much in a shorter time period.
A recent article in Small Business Trends sets forth the considerations when it comes to both workers and small businesses when it comes to a 30-hour workweek. While full-time employees may welcome the idea of working fewer hours for the same pay, temporary staff working an hourly rate would most certainly suffer as a result. It would also cause more chaos for the smaller business that may struggle to find the manpower to cover the extra hours. Larger corporations can pull from the extensive work pool to fill the gaps.
The article puts forth suggestions for small businesses when it comes to working around fewer hours.
- Give employees the same day off – the one that is typically slow for your business
- Rotate days off – if you can’t close your office on set days
- Use a seasonal approach – cut back hours during slow periods, longer hours for peak periods
- Set work quotas rather than working in terms of hours
From a business perspective, when it comes to the facts, current ACA regulations state that benefits and healthcare cannot be reduced as a result of fewer than 40 hours worked in a week. Currently, any employee working a 30-hour week is classified as working full time. Combining the current healthcare regulations with a shorter workweek could certainly pose a problem for smaller businesses.
Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and chief technology officer at HubSpot, an inbound marketing company, turns the concept around in an article for the New York Times, suggesting that watching your business is a better idea than watching the clock. He believes that not all hours have equal value. The idea that every employee in every different role in a business should have to work the same number of hours seems less than efficient. He sees companies working towards a model where employees are evaluated according to their contributions to the business rather than the number of hours worked.
The debate will continue, and there are certainly many points to be made in both directions. At the end of the day, it is about what works the best for your company.