Written by Asher Nichols
The REALITY of the 4-Day Work Week
It’s not a myth, you can do it!!
Obviously, if it’s hard, it’s usually worth doing, so let’s get after it!
Hey PRO-New England Business Owner!! If you have a payroll of field personnel, this could resonate with you…A Remodeling Contractor with 2-6 W-2 Carpenters on staff.
Let’s explore a kernel of this topic for Part 5 below…..
Before launching headlong into a Fully 4-Day work week, it’s important to remember from Part 4 of this Discussion Series, that change is hard and there is a unique signature in every company. There is no right or wrong.
First, a couple of assumptions to clean up….
A – We have been doing this for 15 years and so this is easier said than done. Noted!
B – If ever there was a good time to change your Work Week format, this is it. People are generally more open to flexible work in the past few years because they have had to be!
A company considering this shift to 4-Day work week will likely have the following:
- Residential clients that appreciate good work and good communication.
- Two to six, W-2 Carpenters on staff in the field or shop.
- A Manager, full-time or otherwise
- An engaged Business Owner (Not working IN the Business)
- Software like BuilderTrend to schedule any and all projects
OK, now how to make the week work. We will start with the recognition that your crew and managers communicate weekly within the 5-Day format. This can be through a production meeting, Emails, a 2-Week Look-Ahead, a Forecasting tool, etc.
If the Goals are clear (In this case, weekly Goals), the Team can make their plan to meet the Goal anytime they want. With the Goal for the next work-week known and shared, the plan is more easily executed. If you do this level of weekly planning, you have the basis for switching to a modified weekly production format. (4-Day or 4.5-Day week)
If you do Goal setting, it doesn’t really matter how your week is formatted.
Your Crew of Carpenters is still showing up on Monday and they have plans to follow and Goals to hit.
Because you are Goal setting, you need to do very little crisis-related adjustments or changes to your plan to meet your Weekly Goals. If you do not do Goal setting, you likely have no meaningful control on how your week will end up and that’s tough to plan around. Been there, done that!!
Fridays gone wild!
So, get your Goals straight and your weekly communication down pat.
Your format of the work week then needs to be decided upon. The main difference in the 4-Day vs the 4.5-Day work week is what you choose to do with everyone on Fridays. The big assumption here is that your team moves as one through the week starting on Monday and ending at some point on Friday or Thursday evening. Beware, do NOT stagger the week so some carpenters are off on Mondays and others are off on Fridays. You will “never” have what you need for Crew.
This would be OK in some other industries.
There are 2 choices on the table in front of you now…..
One is a full day off on Fridays
Another, is a half day on Fridays (Presumably the morning)
If choosing to start with a 4.5-Day work week, remember if you use Goal setting, your Goals are most-likely being set by the Team for the next week on Fridays. Your Fridays with the crew could be spent on training, planning, reviews, etc…. We have our Weekly Planning mtg on Wednesdays afternoons.
Also, keep in mind that your crew is now spending 5-fewer hours on production activities each week. If you wanted to capture some of that lost production on Fridays, consider having the crew go to their jobsites and work for 5 hours and then do a good cleanup for the weekend. But, keep track of their hours doing “unproductive” tasks like cleaning/Loading in&out, etc….
You can experiment for a quarter or two.
Choose wisely based on your business’ dynamic needs.
Thank you & More to follow……
***This article is a multi-part OpEd to encourage other Biz-Owners to consider the 4-Day work week.
We want to hear from you! Share your struggles and successes with your PRO-NE WFD Support Team.
Asher Nichols is the President and Owner of Asher Nichols & Craftsmen, LLC located in Newton, Massachusetts.