Is the 40 Hour Workweek Still Relevant?

2020 changed the way people interact with the workplace. As many people transitioned from the office to working from home, some businesses also began to reexamine the length of the workday and workweek. Is a 40-hour workweek still relevant? What are companies considering as an alternative? How can this affect you moving forward? Let’s take a closer look.  

8-Hour Days vs. Results 

As companies decided to allow employees to work from home at the beginning of the pandemic, many people saw surprising results. Without a commute, workers were more engaged from the beginning of the workday. Many became more productive as they were able to work at their own pace but still meet essential deadlines. Companies began to notice that the 8-hour workday wasn’t as critical when working from home as long as the results were consistent.  

Logging Unpaid Overtime 

However, there is a dark side to working from home. Many U.S. workers now indicate that they log unpaid overtime as they can access company emails any time of the day and night. This response from employees is just one symptom caused by the challenge of work/life balance. Working from home may not be improving this balancing act as much as it is blurring the boundaries of work and home life.  

Most and Least Productive Days 

There are several competing studies, and results of these studies, that indicate what the most and least productive days of the week are. Monday is at the top of most lists with Tuesday as a rival. Predictably, Friday is the least productive day. What this says to employers is that workers are more motivated at the beginning of the week and tend to flag by the end, so capturing this energy may be better than forcing square pegs into round holes.  

Alternatives to 40 Hour Work Weeks 

If a 40-hour workweek is no longer the gold standard, what are the alternatives? Work from home may provide some relief allowing employees to avoid a stressful commute, work and take breaks on their schedules, and focus more on results than specific hours worked. A four-day workweek may also be a reasonable alternative to take into account the energy levels of employees at the beginning versus the end of the week.  

Are you reexamining how your workplace will be structured in the near future? 

Contact Nextaff to see how we can help today.  

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