While 2008 may well go down in history as the start of the current recession, it looks like 2009 may be the year of the four day work week. Many companies, struggling to stay afloat, are turning to a compressed four day work week. By cutting everyone back, companies are able to cope with reduced demand and still keep a healthy pool of skilled employees. Sadly, by cutting a day off of the workweek, they are also cutting employee pay up to 20%
As BusinessWeek looked into the trend, it also found that many companies are taking extended breaks over the holiday season. This isn't just happening at larger companies like Dell; smaller companies like the one my father works for have been closed since last Friday, a week longer than normal. Additionally, when they return in January they will be moving to 4-9 hour work days in order to cope with reduced demand. The story isn't much different where my father-in-law works, with an extended break and shifts being shortened across the board.
While cutting a day off of the work week without adding hours on to other days is a hardship for employees, I am glad to see so many companies work to keep more of their workers employed. If you have been shifted to a four day work week and you suspect your employer will still have to make cuts in the near future, make use of your time off. Having a free day during the week is an excellent time to schedule an interview or pick up some part time work to make up for hours that have been cut.
It's hard to believe that not nine months ago so many of us were clamoring for a four day workweek to help save ourselves and our companies from record high energy costs.
2009 set to be the year of the 4 day work week