Compare and contrast: The 4 day work week.

So there’s a pointer to this Inc. article in my inbox this morning. I don’t need any convincing about the potential for a company to form its own work schedule. But it seems to me that this article is lying, or the author is fooling himself, or worse, he’s taking advantage of his employees. To wit: The Case for a Four-Day Work Week

The extra time for research makes for a well-informed team and the realization they have something unique.

So they work 40 hours in 4 days. But then, they get to do research on their “day off”. Huh? How is that helping? I realize that they can run errands and do other things at home since their not expected in the office, and mot likely do not have to answer email, the phone etc. But this smacks of creating a 48 hour work week to me. Either include the research in the work week (“Hey, I need my people to keep up!”) or crow to Inc. magazine how you you fooled your employees into a 48 hour work week and here’s how. Or, one more possibility, no one’s doing anything significant for the company on that day and he knows it. Which makes the article a lie about the benefits of time for research.

Now compare that to how Jason Fried talks about the topic of his company’s schedule:

I don’t believe in the 40-hour workweek, so we cut all that BS about being somewhere for a certain number of hours. I have no idea how many hours my employees work — I just know they get the work done.

Only half the people in the company lives in the area where they could possibly come into the office. But there’s no requirement to at all. They don’t track hours because that’s not the goal. The goal is getting stuff done. I’ll bet there are weeks where people work many more than 40 hours, and times when they work less. Does it matter? Being home to “meet the plumber” shouldn’t be a benefit, but common sense. Not being able to schedule appointments and handle the trivia of life adds enormous stress to people. Do you want a bunch of stressed out, unfocused, people working with you? (do you think the leak held? No shower this morning, gah. etc. throughout the day) Do you want to create an environment where people consider lying as a time management strategy? (Hmm, I should call in sick so I can take care of this.)

Anyway, regardless of whether any of this works for you or your company try not to use it as a means of extending the work week rather than embracing the real benefits.

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