The "firm 40" hour work week

How many hours of work per week do you average? Is it around 40? Is it inevitably well over 40, which by the laws of averages means you’re putting in well over 50 hours most weeks.

There is a company in Michigan that’s implemented a new rule. They tell employees, You give us 40 hours and you keep the rest.

A firm 40 hour work week. Really?!

I almost feel badly about my surprise and skepticism when I read this article in The Wall Street Journal. I’ve been working for over 20 years in professional-level roles where overtime is the company’s expectation. Quite frankly, it’s my expectation that I work closer to 50 hours each week than 40. (Did I mention domestic and global travel during most of my career? Let’s not go there. But you get the picture.)

Why is that the expectation? Is it self imposed because I think it will get me ahead of competition? Is it an unwritten expectation from managers?

As you reflect on your career, do you have similarities to my situation? If so, think about the expectations you as a leader are setting for your team members. Really think about it.

I’ll challenge you to this. Call a team meeting and tell your team to read this article. Then ask them to brainstorm how this approach could be implemented.

  • Where would you start to tear apart the expectations of the tireless grind?
  • How would everything get done if you had 40 hours per person instead of 40+?

I bet you’ll find similar actions as United Shore Financial Services. Employees policing each other’s work hours. Contributing to the each other’s projects.

Check out the article. Let me know what you think!

Radical Idea at the Office – A 40 HourWork  Week, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal