Lowe’s is instituting a major change — a four-day workweek — as an antidote to what workers said were ever-shifting schedules that left them burnt out. Lowe’s adapting the four-day week for associates marks yet another major company to try the four-day workweek.
According to Business Insider, employees complained that Lowe’s former scheduling program the company moved to two years ago had ruined “their weekends” and made “work-life balance impossible.” The scheduling program was also “customer-centric,” — which meant in practice that workers went from working 3 out of 4 weekends each month to only getting one free weekend every two months.
“It pretty much holds your personal life hostage,” one anonymous Florida employee said, per Business Insider. “Because you’ll get one day off every six days. Then you work two or three days and get a day off, and work five or six days straight. And then you get your two days off. But a lot of that time is spent doing physical and emotional, and mental recovery.”
Employees complained quickly about the scheduling change, saying they had to work more consecutive days to have one day off compared to the previous scheduling program. The company attempted to change the program in 2021 but employees were still struggling to make it work.
Now, Lowe’s says they have rolled out changes to help full-time employees who have complained about the system. One of those changes is the option to have a 4-day workweek while still being able to work typical full-time hours.
“Based on recent feedback, last week we began offering most full-time associates the option to schedule a four-day workweek that maintains their hours,” a Lowe’s spokesperson told the publication. “The majority of our full-time associates receive consecutive days off.”
The company hopes the new overhaul of its scheduling program will give more of its workers “more flexibility” when it comes to hours worked while providing better “consistency in their work schedules while continuing to deliver outstanding customer service.”
While the changes are still being rolled out, clearly don’t yet apply to all full-time associates, and it will take a few months until feedback is ready, many studies have shown how beneficial 4-day workweeks are for employees and employers.
Several pilot programs are currently underway, and data is being gathered to determine whether a 4-day workweek might help employers keep their employees happy without compromising business growth. Data so far has been promising, showing how beneficial 4-day workweeks can provide better work-life balance and have a positive, or no effect, on a company’s productivity.
One company that trialed the shorter weeks reported that 91% of employees were happier with the balance, while another company discovered that 94% of workers and 91% of managers liked the 4-day workweek so much that they wanted to make the trial permanent. Pilots in Iceland and the UK have shown similar results: improved quality of life for workers, less stress all around, all while keeping employers happy, too.
Only time will tell if this shift will work for Lowe’s.