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Is the 40-Hour Work Week Outdated?

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Why Do Companies Use a 40-Hour Work Week? A work week that lasts 40 hours initially dates back to the late 1800s. Congress passed a law that made it legal for companies to let employees work up to eight hours per day. This set the stage for a 48-hour work week. In 1926, Ford reduced its employees' work week from 48 to 40 hours. The company did so as part of its efforts to improve its work conditions. Congress in 1940 made the 40-hour work week official in 1940. Since that time, companies have frequently used it for their full-time employees.

What Types of Work Weeks That Last 40 Hours Are Used? A 9-to-5 work week is popular among companies. This requires employees to clock in at 9 a.m. and finish their day at 5 p.m. In most instances, employees work Monday through Friday or some combination of Mondays and Fridays. Businesses may use variations of a 40-hour work week as well. For instance, some companies follow a 9/80 schedule; with this schedule, employees work 80 hours over a nine-day work period.

What Are the Advantages of a Work Week That Lasts 40 Hours?1. You Can Help Employees Maintain a Routine. A 40-hour work week can stay the same for a long period of time. It allows employees to work the same schedule and know what to expect from it. 2. You Can Encourage Employees to Be Accountable. With a schedule of 40 hours per week, employees arrive at work at the same time each day and finish their work by a designated time. As such, requiring workers to work the same schedule each week promotes accountability. 3. You Can Foster Good Communication. A work week that lasts 40 hours allows the same employees to work the same schedule. Thus, it can lay the groundwork for good communication among employees who frequently work at the same times as one another.

What Are the Advantages of a Work Week That Does Not Last 40 Hours?1. You Can Boost Employee Morale. Employees want schedules that align with their personal needs. By not requiring employees to work 40 hours, you can provide them with flexible schedules that match their expectations. 2. You Can Increase Employee Productivity. Giving employees the flexibility to work different schedules can help these individuals complete tasks at times they feel their best. Therefore, not requiring a work week that lasts 40 hours can improve employee productivity. 3. You Can Engage with Talent Like Never Before. A non-traditional work week can make your company attractive to top talent. It can help you improve talent recruitment and retention across your workforce.

Find the Right Work Week for Your Business Consider different work schedules and how they can impact your business. And, if you want help finding talent for different work shifts, contact Ascend Staffing.

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