New York (CNN Business) — What shortage of workers? A Chick-fil-A owner/operator in Miami received a flood of requests after shortening the workweek to three days and 14 hours for his employees.
Justin Lindsey was looking for a novel way to reward employees who “literally worked 70 hours a week, week after week,” as he recently told QSR magazine.
The popular franchise it was profitable and sales were strong, but those results came at the expense of worker burnout. So earlier this year, Lindsey came up with a new recipe for success: reviewing weekly schedules.
He divided his 38 employees—18 store leaders and 20 front-line workers—into two groups and staggered weekly schedules in three-day blocks, with 13- to 14-hour shifts.
The result: 100% retention at the management level and a flood of new job applicants. When an opening opened this fall at the Kendall neighborhood restaurant, the offer attracted more than 420 applicants.
This restaurant is just one more example of businesses experimenting with non-traditional shift work since the pandemic changed the 40-hour work week.
Although most companies have been reluctant to change, some companies, and even some bosseshave urged flexibility as a way to attract and retain workers by offering them a better work-life balance.
In the case of her restaurant, Lindsey said the three-day work week allows her workers to plan ahead for life outside of work.
“I think people want to work in this industry,” Lindsey said in the report. “But they want some things to change, and I think that’s what this has shown: There are things that, if we change them for the better, we’re going to have a lasting impact.” Lindsey could not be reached by CNN for comment.
A three-day workweek is still highly unusual, but the buzz around a four-day week has been gaining momentum.
In a six-month pilot program in the UK, 3,300 workers from 70 companies agreed to work 80% of their usual weekly hours in exchange for a promise to maintain 100% of their productivity. His salary did not change. At the end of this month, the companies will decide whether to keep the program.
A similar test in Iceland was successful. And when Microsoft tested a shorter workweek in Japan in 2019, it found that productivity increased by nearly 40%.