Anyone thinking of working four 10-hour days a week, also known as a compressed workweek, should assess this schedule's advantages and disadvantages before accepting such an arrangement. An employee and employer attempting to introduce a compressed workweek should address the benefits for each party, that details are understood and that it is an equitable arrangement, according to the University of Southern California's department of human resources. Some people manage the compressed workweek well, but it has some clear disadvantages to consider.
The intention of the compressed workweek is to create flexible conditions that facilitate the integration of work and personal lives; however the four actual working days are long and allow little time for commuting and caring for family at home. The compressed workweek is not as convenient for parents of young children who need day care. With this schedule, children wake early and spend a long day with a caregiver and many day cares do not extend hours. Working a 10-hour day leaves little time for family care in the mornings and evenings.
In some workplaces, an employee who compresses work into fewer days may miss out on working hours when the remaining employees are at the office, and may miss office-wide meetings or opportunities to conduct business. They may feel they need to catch up from the days they have missed during their three-day weekend. In addition, some professions require travel or occasional attendance at seminars which may not fit within the employee's chosen schedule. The schedule is also subject to ongoing adjustment to account for paid holidays and vacation days.
Some employers only allow a four-day workweek to proven employees who have passed a probationary period with their employer. These workers already know their job well, have relationships with colleagues and clients and have proven themselves responsible to work independently. In addition, employees working a compressed workweek may experience additional pressure to prove themselves to their employer and colleagues to continue the arrangement.
Extended workdays that produce more consecutive days off may cause employees to need more time to acclimate to the task at hand, according to The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Extended workdays can introduce fatigue, more breaks and less free time during the workday. On the other hand, the Centre believes that longer time off compensates up for the longer workdays. This depends on whether the employee has developed regular and healthy sleep patterns.
Alison Lake has been a journalist and editor since 2001, working with numerous newspapers and magazines. She has served on the world news desk of the "Washington Post" and contributed to The Atlantic, Foreign Policy Online, Al Jazeera English and GlobalPost.