Across the globe, everyone who can work from home is being urged to do so. This unexpected and unprecedented push into remote work is forcing businesses to rethink what work is and reimagine what it could be.
In order to succeed in this brand new environment, companies need to get creative. You can’t simply take what works in a traditional office setting, put it on Zoom, and expect to get the same results.
Adjusting to fully remote operations is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to explore new types of schedules and job structures that can be of benefit not only in the near-term disruption of our daily lives, but also over the long haul. As managers and teams grow increasingly comfortable with the realities of distance working, now may be the time for companies to consider embracing the 20-hour workweek.
Under normal circumstances, offering a 20-hour option is a way to tap into a hidden pool of talented candidates who can’t or don’t want to work in traditional roles, including people caring for children or parents, people returning to school, and people who simply want a better work/life balance. In our current pandemic conditions, a 20-hour workweek becomes even more valuable, as many more of us are juggling home and work demands and looking for ways to regain some sense of control over our schedules.
The Productivity Logic of a 20-Hour Workweek
If you’re thinking about offering 20-hour workweek options at your company, it is first important to note that this isn’t about cutting an employee’s hours in half and expecting them to deliver half the work.
On the surface, it may seem that moving to a 20-hour workweek means you’ll need two part-time workers to do what one full-timer could, but we’ve tried 20-hour workweeks ourselves at WorkReduce, and we’ve found that isn’t the case. In fact, with the right people in these new 20-hour positions, you may find your employees are actually getting more done per hour. It may seem counterintuitive, but professionals working just 20 hours a week are often more focused and more efficient. One effective part-timer can easily accomplish the same amount a full-time worker might accomplish in 30 hours.
The reason is that, with less time in their schedules, these employees are motivated to get right to the task at hand. They’re focused on getting the work done and aren’t simply filling time and looking busy while waiting for the end of the day.
Think about your own work patterns: Do you ever really do more than four or five hours of deep work in a single day? Hardly. That means the rest of your workday is spent on superficial filler work. Who hasn’t experienced the phenomenon of the job expanding to take the time allotted for it? Workers with less time are less likely to give in to distractions.
The Economics of a 20-Hour Workweek
While you may have to hire a few more staff members to make sure everything gets done in a 20-hour workweek, the cost of these extra hires will be offset by long-term savings.
When people have flexible jobs that accommodate the needs of their personal lives, they are more likely to stay put. That’s doubly true if you can offer health insurance and other benefits often limited to full-time roles. Overall, your higher retention rates will mean less money spent on recruiting and onboarding new employees.
There’s also the benefit of continuity, which keeps projects moving along without (costly) disruptions. That translates to greater client satisfaction, which supports business growth.
Finally, if your part-time workers are remote, you’re also saving money on office space. Read more here…