It’s not a secret that we live in a society of morbid capitalism. Companies seem to only value the bottom line, without a care for how they get there or who got them there. Similarly, it has become the societal standard for employees to devalue themselves. Judging and grading their worth, on both a professional and personal level, by how hard they can push their limits and churn out results. The covid-19 pandemic has forced both companies and workers alike to re-evaluate their priorities and re-work the system. Being forced to work from home greatly disrupted what little work-life balance most employees had, with a large number of employees across the nation underreporting their work hours while working considerably longer shifts. With most companies returning to the office with their employees already in the throes of burnout it’s clear the old way of doing things just isn't working anymore.
It’s strange to think that the last time government standards for work hours changed was over 80 years ago in 1940. The socio-economic climate is constantly changing and it’s important that these standards change along with it. There have been bills proposed within the last few months in the US, on both state and federal levels, that would shorten the standard work week to 4-days. These bills have brought up a lot of discussion in regards to how this affects both employers and employees. The 4 day work week model is not a new concept. Globally, there are several countries that have already trialed shortened work weeks with varying degrees of success, and labor unions in the US have been trying to make it happen as far back as 1970. But the question stands, is the 4-day work-week a viable business model?
Here at Automic Gold, investing in our staff is something we have always deemed a priority. Nearly a year ago, after reading about successful shortened work week models in Europe, we decided to implement a 4-day work week as a way to ensure our employees health and boost morale. We decided to split the week and give our employees Wednesdays off without an increase in daily work hours and without a decrease in pay. We can say definitively that the change has created a healthier, happier, more productive workforce.
Time is a precious commodity and having that extra day off during the week has allowed our employees to feel more fulfilled. It’s given them time to spend with their families and friends, enjoy hobbies, go to doctors appointments, or simply relax without having to invest all of their attention on their jobs. Over the past few months we’ve seen a strong and thriving staff which in turn helps our company thrive. With a more motivated staff, everyone is far more efficient, re-organizing and re-prioritizing tasks in order to make the best use of the few work days we do have. As far as the bottom line goes, we’ve seen an increase in sales and productivity during this time, effectively proving that Industry can co-exist with Compassion. We hope the proposed Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act passes and more companies join us in putting their employees first.