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  • How a four-day work week can save your business money

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    Starting a small business takes a lot of time, energy, money and creativity. It's important during the first few years a startup or small business is being launched that each of these factors are used appropriately.

    One area that some entrepreneurs might want to think outside of the box on is operating hours. The typical workweek runs from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. Maintaining consistent work hours is crucial for business operations, especially for those that count on customers knowing when the business is open, such as a store.

    However, rethinking the traditional workweek has many benefits for businesses and employees alike.

    Reduce expenses
    According to 3Bug Media, having a four-day week is one way many businesses choose to reduce expenses [1]. To do this, determine which day is your slowest and keep the office closed that day. You might have to reschedule some appointments, but as long as you alert any customers planning to come in that day in advance, the transition should move smoothly.

    The benefit to this that, not only will you not have to pay employees for a full day, but you will also cut down on utilities because you will be able to keep the lights off and the heat low for one extra day every week. Plus, you can have an extra day to review your business strategy and do some behind-the-scenes work that normally might be accomplished after hours. On those weeks when there aren't many tasks to do on that fifth day, you will be able to enjoy a three-day weekend with family or friends.

    The Cheat Sheet explained the reduced costs won't just affect you - they'll affect employees, too. They will be able to cut their commute and therefore gas or transportation expenses by one day. For those employees with children, one less day at the office will mean one less day of childcare needed. Employees will also have more freedom to schedule important things outside of work, such as doctor's appointments.

    Promote productivity
    In addition to reducing expenses, a four-day week - or a three-day weekend - can increase employee engagement. CNN Money explained how the transition helped Indiana-based Web design company Reusser Design. The company only has nine employees and each are integral to the team. When founder Nate Reusser decided to cut Fridays out of their workweek, he noticed that productivity increased [2]. From Monday through Thursday, his employees worked harder, faster and with greater focus on their projects.

    Jason Fried, the co-founder of Basecamp, formerly 37signals, a Web design firm in Chicago, wrote in a New York Times opinion article that, after implementing a four-day workweek during the summer months made employees more productive. With fewer hours to focus on projects, they focused harder during the time they were in the office [3]. The result was more quality work being produced during those hours.

    The Cheat Sheet points out that countries with shorter workweeks tend to have greater productivity. Meanwhile, America's productivity is going up, but so are the number of hours we work.

    Entice employees
    The most obvious benefit to the four-day workweek might be the employee benefits. Working four days a week means every weekend is a long weekend, with more opportunities to spend with friends and family, more chances to unwind and relax and more time to focus on hobbies and interests outside of work.

    Next Avenue explained the Baby Boomer generation, those looking to begin easing into retirement, will be especially receptive to the four-day workweek [4].

    "A four-day workweek allows you to continue to contribute on the job while gaining the time to pursue a long-neglected avocation, to help care for the grandchildren or to simply enjoy the other parts of life," Cali Williams Yost, chief executive and founder of New Jersey-based Flex Strategy Group, which helps companies to implement flexible workweeks, explained.

    Inc.com pointed out that four-day workweeks can be used as an employee retention tool, regardless of what age bracket your employees are in [5]. Very few companies using this model - only 14 percent of small businesses and 5 percent of large ones offer it to most or all of their employees, CNN Money reported. For small businesses that don't have a lot of extra resources to offer bonuses and other incentives, this could be a great way to draw people in.

    Sources:
    [1]. 5 Ways To Reduce Operating Costs For Your Business
    [2]. The 4-day workweek is real ... for employees at these companies
    [3]. Be More Productive. Take Time Off.
    [4]. It's High Time for the 4-Day Workweek
    [5]. Should We All Be On The 4-Day Workweek?



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