The four-day work week. A sucker's play.
Lance Haun revisited the topic of the 4-day work week late last week over at TLNT.com. Lance remembers that Utah ushered in a 4-day work week policy a few years back, with the move getting a ton of hand-wringing and pontification that other states and even (gasp!) private industry would follow suit.
What happened? Public sector employers have continued to make the 4-day work week grab. Lance points to Winston-Salem, NC, Effingham County, GA, and Franklin (VA) City Public Schools as having recently implemented four-day work weeks. Lance also identified more cities like Westminster, CO and Indio, CA as considering using the four day work week.
Of course, that tsunami of 4-day work week adoption never came in the private sector. Why not? Lance thinks in government offices, even exempt employees work fairly rigid schedules, and in most of the white collar, exempt employee world, that rigidity doesn’t exist.
He's right, but I'll shoot to kill with my observation - many exempt government workers act like hourly employees. Rigid schedules is code for "not inspired to provide any discretionary effort whatsoever".
How sad is it to work in a job that doesn't inspire you to give more freely (this post written at 10:20 on a Sunday night)? By all accounts it sucks.
Want to rob your workforce of the willingness to provide discretionary effort (effort they could give but don't have to)? There are many ways to suck the motivation out of a worker, but counting hours has to be among the top ways. I'll leave you with the following breakdown of how the four-day workweek plays into that from a post I cranked out back in the day (I count 2008 as back in the day):
"I get that most businesses have office hours, even for exempt employees. I also know that manufacturing environments have to hard-code hours from a production standpoint. I get that. For the purposes of the rest of the rant, I'm going to address your exempt level professional worker who is not supervising a production/manufacturing environment. You know the type - they have decision making authority about when and how they work on their responsibilities and objectives.
By moving to a 4 day work week, you just told them the job was about hours - not about meeting the objectives, not about helping the company hit its plan, and certainly not about dreaming up an innovation through their engagement level with their job. You may not know it, or be willing to agree with it, but by moving them to a 4 day week, you just told them their objective was (shudder..) 40 HOURS."
The four-day work week. Launch it and watch the discretionary effort go down. Here's an idea - give up the evil kung fu grip on office hours and give a telecommuting day per week. See how much discretionary effort you get as a result of that move vs. the four-day work week.
Do what's hard vs. what's intellectually lazy. Now that I think about it, that's a great t-shirt.