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RECMGMT-L  October 2004, Week 1

RECMGMT-L October 2004, Week 1

Subject:

4 day work week

From:

"John J. O'Brien" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 1 Oct 2004 16:26:36 +0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (48 lines)

How refreshing to hear the downside!  As a manager in the past I had
taken the unpopular view that all is not rosy in flex/modified work
time.  First off, there are differences between flex and modified work
week...and please understand that I do not have a problem with the
concept in principle--it's all about fit.

My two cents.

Production shops with ample human resources are ideal for creative
scheduling. The work should be relatively routine and able to be
performed by more than one person to ensure that the work can continue
when the person is away.  In this way, no one suffers--the organization
maintains its productivity, and the staff are not stressed.

Stressed? By shorter work weeks?  You bet.  If the work is "owned" by a
person rather than shared in a production shop sense, practically it
mounts up during that day away and the staff person returns to
more--despite those extra 17 minutes, or 47, or whatever the schedule
is.  Management is still compelled to meet targets and often finds that
the necessary knowledge is not at hand. Relationships begin to change as
attempts to ensure continuity and performance measures that test the
affect of the changed schedules may look like sabotage to staff (some of
whom don't get that it is management's job to assess such things).  If
not tailored to the frankly assessed immediate work environment, it can
begin a very negative spiral.

In all of this, IMHO, the key is adequate resourcing and appropriate
sharing of job knowledge--married to objective performance measures that
allow a manager to defend the practice by proving that the result is not
less than the status quo. The work culture is paramount.  Is your office
a learning community or a competitive info-jungle? If you've got the
right culture, the right resources and commitment from the team, you can
do anything and make it work. Overall people will appreciate the greater
freedom. I know I do certain kinds of work much more effectively away
from office distractions (even though I am lucky enough to have a door
to close).

In my own current situation, we work 5.5 day weeks and every other
Saturday--some staff have 6 day weeks and the practice around breaks
differs significantly from what many enjoy in other locales.  I have
learned how important a two day weekend is ;-)

Cheers-and good luck on however you structure the change.

John O'Brien, CRM, MLT

List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
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