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Is a 4- Day Work Week Really an Option?


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There's a lot of talk these days about a 4-day work week.  Some discussions include the entire shop only being opened for 4 days, other discussions talk about rotating employees to work only four days, while the shop remains open for 5 or 6 days. 

I am on the fence about this. I do see the benefits, but it's not as easy as some may think.

Thoughts, Comments? 

 

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14 hours ago, xrac said:

We’ve discussed it but haven’t implemented.  The places here who have implemented longer hours haven’t seemed to be that successful with it.  To me the main issues are supervision and parts availability. 

I may be old fashion, but aren't we in a service-oriented business?  Are employees today really interested in a 4 day work week?

With that said, I think years back, most of us worked too hard, too many hours, and did not take enough time off.  To me, time with family is perhaps a major consideration.

Is there a balance?  Work hard / Family time? 

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The consumer drives the market. People need their cars. So the shop has to be open at least five days a week. We are not open weekends, so the crew gets those two days to spend with family and friends. My crew likes to work. Most of them don’t take their full vacations or PTO. They would rather take the buyout at the end of the year. I think you need to know your people, your culture and most importantly your finances before making that type of decision. 

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1 hour ago, tomkatv10 said:

The consumer drives the market. People need their cars. So the shop has to be open at least five days a week. We are not open weekends, so the crew gets those two days to spend with family and friends. My crew likes to work. Most of them don’t take their full vacations or PTO. They would rather take the buyout at the end of the year. I think you need to know your people, your culture and most importantly your finances before making that type of decision. 

Great points and I tend to agree with you.  You also bring up a great point about the consumer. 

And Culture is King. 

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I own a gas station with service bays and we are open for gas/diesel seven days a week. For the first forty years we were in business our shop was open six days a week but ten years ago we reduced our shop hours to five days a week. We were very concerned that we would lose customers by closing our bays on Saturday’s but that failed to happen. Have we possibly lost some customers over the last ten years to other shops that are open on Saturday? I am sure we have. I am also sure that if our shop was open 364 days a year that we would lose some customer because we were closed that one day a year when he or she needed help. I have answered our phone on Labor Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Thanksgiving with requests for oil changes, tire repairs, brake work.... and had to explain to the caller that we are open for gas/diesel but closed for repairs. The caller was home, not at work, it is a holiday, they were aware it was a holiday and yet they expected me to say “sure, bring it over, I just need to call my family and tell them not to expect me home late for Thanksgiving dinner because you have been nursing a slow leak in your right front tire for the last two weeks but now, on Thanksgiving, you have decided that you need it repaired”.  I guess I am trying to say that it is impossible to satisfy the needs of all our customers 100% of the time, we will disappoint people. Life is short, our job is demanding, we are all all probably working too many hours, away from our family and loved ones. If you think your customer base will tolerate a four day work week - Go for it! Unfortunately I am old fashioned, I still worry about being closed for repairs on Saturdays so for right now I will continue with the five day work week.

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8 hours ago, JimO said:

I own a gas station with service bays and we are open for gas/diesel seven days a week. For the first forty years we were in business our shop was open six days a week but ten years ago we reduced our shop hours to five days a week. We were very concerned that we would lose customers by closing our bays on Saturday’s but that failed to happen. Have we possibly lost some customers over the last ten years to other shops that are open on Saturday? I am sure we have. I am also sure that if our shop was open 364 days a year that we would lose some customer because we were closed that one day a year when he or she needed help. I have answered our phone on Labor Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Thanksgiving with requests for oil changes, tire repairs, brake work.... and had to explain to the caller that we are open for gas/diesel but closed for repairs. The caller was home, not at work, it is a holiday, they were aware it was a holiday and yet they expected me to say “sure, bring it over, I just need to call my family and tell them not to expect me home late for Thanksgiving dinner because you have been nursing a slow leak in your right front tire for the last two weeks but now, on Thanksgiving, you have decided that you need it repaired”.  I guess I am trying to say that it is impossible to satisfy the needs of all our customers 100% of the time, we will disappoint people. Life is short, our job is demanding, we are all all probably working too many hours, away from our family and loved ones. If you think your customer base will tolerate a four day work week - Go for it! Unfortunately I am old fashioned,I still wor ry about being closed for repairs on Saturdays so for right now I will continue with the five day work week.

Wow, I can empathize and sympathize with you!

I grew up in the gas station business, and we worked every day, rain or shine. We had to be there. I tip my hat to you for putting things in perspective and having the guts to make changes that affect you and your employees' lives. 

AND I CAN RELATE TO YOUR STATEMENT, "I still worry about being closed for repairs on Saturdays..."  When I went into business, my father told me, "You will feel guilty when you take a Saturday off."

Funny how so many shop owners think and feel alike! 

 

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On 8/15/2022 at 7:53 AM, Joe Marconi said:

Wow, I can empathize and sympathize with you!

I grew up in the gas station business, and we worked every day, rain or shine. We had to be there. I tip my hat to you for putting things in perspective and having the guts to make changes that affect you and your employees' lives. 

AND I CAN RELATE TO YOUR STATEMENT, "I still worry about being closed for repairs on Saturdays..."  When I went into business, my father told me, "You will feel guilty when you take a Saturday off."

Funny how so many shop owners think and feel alike! 

 

Joe, I can relate to you statement “When I went into business, my father told me, "You will feel guilty when you take a Saturday off."

My father passed away years before I took the step to shut down service on Saturdays. A big hurdle for me was overcoming the thought of what my father would say to me if he was alive at that time. He was a machinist by trade and eventually managed large manufacturing factories for numerous companies unrelated to the automotive industry. From a very young age he instilled a work ethic that has served me well and I thank him for that. Maybe I am just older and  cynical but it seems that most of today’s young males fail to have that drive. The pandemic and paying people to stay home seemed to squash whatever small amount of work ethic that was left. I am sure there are young people in the work force with more drive than I can imagine but I routinely deal with young, male gas island attendants that can’t sleep at night so they look at their computers or play video games. They can’t work any mornings because they are unable to wake up since they go to bed at 3am or later. They don’t want to work Friday, Saturday, or Sunday because they want to go out at night with their friends. They don’t want to work more than 4-6 hours a day because they are tired. Many are taking some type of prescription medication for anxiety, depression or to help them sleep. Unfortunately this is becoming the norm for young men in my area and it worries me. 

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14 minutes ago, JimO said:

Joe, I can relate to you statement “When I went into business, my father told me, "You will feel guilty when you take a Saturday off."

My father passed away years before I took the step to shut down service on Saturdays. A big hurdle for me was overcoming the thought of what my father would say to me if he was alive at that time. He was a machinist by trade and eventually managed large manufacturing factories for numerous companies unrelated to the automotive industry. From a very young age he instilled a work ethic that has served me well and I thank him for that. Maybe I am just older and  cynical but it seems that most of today’s young males fail to have that drive. The pandemic and paying people to stay home seemed to squash whatever small amount of work ethic that was left. I am sure there are young people in the work force with more drive than I can imagine but I routinely deal with young, male gas island attendants that can’t sleep at night so they look at their computers or play video games. They can’t work any mornings because they are unable to wake up since they go to bed at 3am or later. They don’t want to work Friday, Saturday, or Sunday because they want to go out at night with their friends. They don’t want to work more than 4-6 hours a day because they are tired. Many are taking some type of prescription medication for anxiety, depression or to help them sleep. Unfortunately this is becoming the norm for young men in my area and it worries me. 

You bring up excellent points.  And I agree.  While it's fine to consider family time and cherish life itself, there needs to be a balance in life and we must not forget about our responsibility to who we are and our purpose of existing on this planet. 

Another thing I was taught by my father was to prioritize things in your life and put yourself last. Take care of family, the people around you, and yourself.  Leaders eat last. 

This culture of a weak work ethic will become our demise, if not corrected soon.  Your worries are founded in reality. 

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2 hours ago, Transmission Repair said:

As I posted earlier, we were open 5 days a week, Mon-Fri 8:00 am - 6:00 pm.  However, if we had slow days, I would give the guys time off.  Some of the guys took it, some didn't.   This is because I paid the employees by the hour.  Giving them time off was considered a pay cut by some and if they needed money, they wouldn't take off.

What I've learned from this thread is that a 4-day work week doesn't mean the business is open only 4 days a week.  Employees only work 4-day work weeks but the business is open 5-6 days a week.  Here's a video from down under New Zealand with their perspective on the 4-day work week.

12:56

 

I do understand the strategy, and the 4-day employee rotation model. I still think that this is a case-by-case decision that only the shop owner can make. I spoke to a shop owner last week at the Elite Eagles course, and he said that there was no way he was giving up the 6 day workweek, and also stated that Saturday is his best day of the week. 

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