Four Day Weeks and Longer Days –
Is a Compressed Working Schedule the new Working from Home?
It’s been a tumultuous week for many states in Australia. Our offices are based in Southeast Queensland and so we know the pain that many cities have been going through. We find ourselves commiserating with Sydney and Melbourne after our latest lockdown orders. And from everyone here at ASSET, we hope you are staying home and staying safe.
But with the ever-changing beast that is COVID-19 and the ongoing need for flexible working conditions due to snap lockdowns, we may now be seeing a long-term change to where, when, and how we work.
When people made the switch to working from home during lockdowns most businesses had the same concerns over the predicted loss of productivity, however the data told another story.
A study by Standford conducted over 9 months with 16,000 workers found that employees took fewer sick days, less breaks and reported greater work satisfaction. The study found that productivity actually increased by 13% when working from home.
Working from home has very much been a necessity and not a choice but as the years of lockdowns and COVID outbreaks march on, many companies are wondering if we will return to the office at all.
As some businesses let the lease go on their office spaces and others investigate the best online video conferencing software, this refreshing approach to flexible working conditions has opened the door for unconventional schedules.
While many people have previously struck a work life balance through going part-time or job sharing, there are now people out there pushing for a third option. One in which you don’t lose any cash in your pay cheque, but you have an extra day off a week. This is called a compressed working schedule and it’s gaining traction with forward-thinking companies.
Compressed working schedules have gained popularity since the COVID lockdowns have forced businesses to think outside the box and provide employees with more flexible working conditions.
A compressed working schedule is fitting all of your 40 hour week into four or four and half days to give you that extra day or half day off. For example, you might work ten hours, four days a week and then have every Friday off.
There are many benefits to a compressed working schedule. It gives the employee a better work/life balance. It might enable mothers to pay for one less day of childcare, allow employees to complete study or other professional development on their day off or indulge a hobby that helps to keep them happy and healthy.
If you are considering a compressed working schedule yourself or for your team, here are a few things to consider to keep the workload progressing and keep your cool on long days.
Have core office hours
The thing about getting creative with when you do your hours is that your team mates and clients can suffer if you’re not being consistent in when and how you deliver those hours.
Talk to your clients and to your peers and superiors at work and find the most crucial hours that you should be available. These are your core office hours. Work your schedule to make sure you’re always on and available during these hours.
Know your productive times
Everyone works better at different times of the day. Knowing when you are your most productive and when you’ll do your best work is key to having a successful compressed working schedule.
If you’re not sure about this, do a bit of log. Keep a notebook by your computer and jot down the time you start and finish a task for a week. At the end of the week, you should have a pretty good idea of when you are most productive. Make sure you are structuring your work day around this to achieve maximum productivity.
The chances are you are not always going to be able to have the same day off in your working week. You will probably need to shift your day off occasionally to accommodate work meetings or a specific project that requires your attention.
If your workplace is willing to give you flexibility, you have to be willing to give it back and show up when you’re needed.
Get your work done
This one should be no surprise, but if you are not coping with your usual work load in a compressed schedule you’re not going to be able to continue this flexible working arrangement.
Make sure you are prioritising and using your time efficiently, know what’s expected and get it done.
Take enough breaks
Working a ten hour day is going to be change for some people. It can be difficult to maintain your focus for that long. That is why it is important to build little breaks into your day, take a walk, stare off into the distance and day dream for ten minutes, get a coffee.
These little breaks will leave you refreshed and ready to get stuck back into your work.
The reality is a compressed working schedule is not going to work for everyone. Some people are going to struggle to get everything done, but if you think it might be the right thing for you and your workplace is on board why not give it go!