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The HR Forum

Work life balance

Hi there, 

I wanted to start a discussion on experiences/views of a 'early friday finish'.  

My current employer has asked me to research the effects of finishing early on a Friday, 2pm. 

We currently work 8.30 to 4.30 Monday to Friday and work in the Manufacturing sector. We are looking to increase the Monday to Thursday 8.30 to 5pm and then take this time back on a Friday...

Thoughts...?

* Have you worked in an organisation that has this rule? 

* Does it actually give people a reward? 

* Are we heading more and more into a society that appreciates time over money?

* Do you get lost hours from a Friday afternoon or do you feel you get more hours from the extra 30 mins a day?

Regards

Gail

 

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Replies

  • Hi Gail,

     

    I think a flexible working pattern with an early finish on a Friday is a great idea. 

    The organisation I work in offers flexible working hours allowing employees to work to hours that suits them, I would say most employees welcome the freedom to chose when they work.

    I feel like it would almost be a reward to finish early on a Friday having worked hard all week and would really value having the time to myself on the Friday afternoon. I'm sure I would work more efficiently and feel as if I had really earnt the early finish. 

     

    I believe nowadays people are starting to change their mind set when it comes to work - time is definitely more important than money and we are starting to appreciate a work-life balance more.

    I know I lose hours on a Friday staring at the time or out the window wishing it was time to kick start the weekend! I would be a lot more pro-active if I felt like I had earnt the right to I finish early.

     

    Aleashia 

  • Hi,

    I haven't worked in an organisation that has an early finish, however i think this would be a great perk for your organisation. I would class this as a reward and it sits well with work-life balance providing that everyone can stay until 5pm to get the chance to finish at 2pm on a Friday. 

    My company provides flexible working and im able to work from home when needed which is great for myself. I can also start and finish at different times such as 7:30am start-4:00pm finish, 8am-4:30pm and so on. 

    I personally would love an early finish on a Friday and i think the team's morale would be alot better too!!

    Louise.

     

  • Hi Gail,

    The company I work for has a flexible working policy. The majority of employees are contracted to 37 hour weeks, this works out as a 7.4 hour working day. However, with the flexible working policy it gives employees the freedom to chose, within reason, how they spread these hours out over the course of the week. This means that employees have the option of working it so they have an early finish on a friday (or any day for that matter) which makes things such as arranging childcare, appointments etc a lot easier.

    Employees can also acrue flexi leave should they do more than the standard 37 hours per week, this is useful as depending how much you have acrued you can have either a half day/ full day off without having to use any annual leave. 

    I have only been with the company for just short of 6 months however I find the flexibility and freedom of this very rewarding as it means I am still able to enjoy the things and who doesn't love an early finish on a friday?!

    Cheryl

  • Hi Gail,

    Although not specifically related to early finish, there have been a few articles in the press recently about the benefits of employees having the ability to balance work alongside outside commitments via a reduced working week which may provide some insights for you (see link to the Guardian below). Rather than an early finish however, another option may be letting employees have flexibility over their start and work times? Acas undertook a study in 2017 (link provided below).

    From my personal experience, flexible start and finish times are what have improved my wellbeing the most as it has allowed me to effectively balance work and life commitments. In my current role the earliest I can start is 7:30 and the latest is 10:00. This means the earliest I can finish is 16:00 and the latest 18:30. You will find most people fall into a routine though the flexibility to change this to accommodate appointments, school runs, the gym etc, is great and all we have to do is consider our work diaries and let our line manager know (especially if later).

    I hope this helps although not directly related to a half-day Friday!

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/19/four-day-week-trial-s...

    https://www.acas.org.uk/media/4901/Flexibility-in-the-Workplace-Imp...

    Four-day week: trial finds lower stress and increased productivity
    Study of pilot at New Zealand firm finds staff were happier and 20% more productive
  • Good  afternoon Gayle,

    You have chosen a great subject to discuss because to have Work-life Balance is very important it makes you a better parent and colleague. I have been learning recently about non -financial reward and Work-life Balance is one of them.

    So, it definitely counts as a reward to people by finishing earlier on Friday. Time becomes very precious if you want to spend more time with your loved ones, have some time for yourself or get away from everything. However, everybody got different needs if we look in Maslow's theory of motivation is called " hierarchy of needs" there are five basic. For some people will be fine to stay on the Physiological level, which includes; water, shelter, sleeping or Love and belonging level this link to people who more appreciate time while other people will be moving to next level Esteem basis level which is; status. recognition, self-esteem and freedom. Esteem basis can lead to people who more appreciates time than money.

    When we reach a Friday afternoon people already start planning their weekends and getting involved in conversations with their colleagues. If you count all these factors the productivity of employees goes down. So why not to leave a few hours earlier and balance more working hours from Monday to Thursday.  

    Best regards

    Birute

     

     

     

  • Hi Gail

    Great post and I guess it will be about building a business case for the employer and the return on investment in terms of the early finish.

    This can quickly become custom and practice.

    I personally have not worked in an organisation where this has been applied but historially mainly manufacturing and engineering companies have applied this. This can sometimes be an attractive benefit that attracts employees into the business.

    I also remember reading some where a while ago about an employer who let their workforce leave once all the production targets (and quality) targets had been met for the week. The workforce left Thursday morning. I can imagine this is motivational short term but how to do you maintain this in terms of the reward being appreciated longer term?

    There is an interesting article here that explore some of the themesm it would be great ot hear how you get on.  A trial can always be useful, but it is the longer term where I would want to understand the impact more.

    https://medium.com/bobs-economics/understanding-incentives-and-lett...

    Does anyone else have any thoughts on this for Gail?

    All the best

     

    Sarah

    Understanding incentives and letting your workers leave early
    (Introduction to Economics, Lesson 17)
  • Hi Gail,

    The core hours where I work are 40.5 per week and I too working manufacturing/distribution:

    Mon-Thu 7:30-16:30 & Fri 8:00-15:00 (30 minute lunch break)

    or

    Mon-Thu 08:30-17:30 & Fri 08:30-17:30 (30 minute lunch break)

    This has been in place for a while now, before I started here 11 months ago. I believe that when the changes were implemented, it was done because employees were pushing for an early finish on Fridays. At the time they had 1 hour lunch break and by reducing the lunch break to 30 minutes this gave the 2 hours needed for the early finish on Friday. 

    Personally I think its great to have that early Friday finish and with the added bonus of being able to book holiday in hours, I can book as little as 2 hours holiday on a Friday and finish as early as 2:30pm. A real benefit to me as my husband and I like to escape at least 1 weekend a month in our motorhome so we can beat the traffic and get to the campsites at a reasonable hour without rushing. The downside is having a short lunch break but where the factory is, there isn't really anything around the immediate vicinty that gives any benefit for long lunch. 

    In terms of productivity, I couldn't really tell you if this has benefited us because I don't know what it was like pre-change. 

    Hope that helps?

    Caroline

  • Hi Gail,

    I also work in manufacturing (automotive) and the indirect staff (administration, support etc) have worked a 'short' Friday for many years. We now finish at lunchtime (12:20) on Friday (approx. 10 years ago it was 14:20, but with an extra 20mins day worked Mon-Thu, 80mins was removed from Friday allowing the 12:20 finish), giving a real 1/2 day feeling. The Mon-Thu 'extra' time is certainly put to use, and because staff are still finishing at 16:40 the day isn't seen to finish late.

    The contracted hours are 37hrs / week, and to accomodate the early Friday finish, the Mon-Thu hours were increased to 08:00 ~ 16:40, with 30mins unpaid for lunch.

    It's a big sellling point when recruiting new staff, and I would say 99.9% of the current staff really apppreciate the benefit of an early start to the weekend, and it's not caused any issues with the direct (production) staff who work mutliple shift patterns (prior to and after the 'day' shift) has gone home. All of our suppliers / support organisations are aware of the early finish and again it has not caused any concern.

    Rob

     

  • Hi Gail

    My organisation are flexible as long as the contracted hours are completed.  I work 7.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 7.30 to 12.30 on Friday.  I rarely take a lunch break and therefore always do slightly over my hours.  I love my Friday afternoons to myself.

    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      That a perfect organization to work for.

      Would love to have these working hours in our company.

       

      Best regards

       

      Birute  

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