18

We've got a team of 20 developers, and are thinking of implementing a 10 hour work day. I'm wondering how this will impact the team, and what advantages it will provide. Also, any suggestions on how to structure the schedule? Any downsides?

9

Could be a problem for any developers with family commitments such as those who have kids. If you're working 8-6, and they have to drop their kid off at 7:30, and pick them up at 6:30, due to travel time, it might be difficult for them to find a daycare that can deal with those hours. I would say offer it as an option to your employees individually, and let them decide if they want to work 10 hour days, or 8 hour days.

8

Well, considering most developers work closer to 5/9 than 5/8, it just means an extra day off :)

6

Well a problem that could arise if you have to wait on other people who are using the 5/8 hour day. For instance, you find a need for something late on Thursday and you contact someone who can do it for you. However, he needs until Friday to get it done. This delay may or may not be acceptable, depending on how urgent things are.

6

Con: Longer days, higher chance of burnout.

Con: Absence of coverage on what's a normal day for nearly everyone else (can be mitigated with rotating off-days).

I'd say think of it like RAID. How many developers do you want on staff on any given day? Or do you want the whole company to be closed on Friday?

6

I used to work on a project for the US Army Corps of Engineers where I was a software developer. Most of the other staff were mechanical engineers, I was the only one doing software. Thanks to flex time, many people chose to do a 4/10 schedule. It seems to work great. The only drawback is if you're one of the people on 5/8 and you need someone on 4/10 to do something for you, but it's their day off. As long as people keep regular schedules that everyone else knows about, this drawback can be effectively mitigated. It's really no different than people working 5/8, but some of them come in at 7am and some at 11am (which happens a lot at my current company). IMHO, it's having a regular schedule that's important. I'd recommend you implement flex time instead of forcing 4/10 and let everyone in your company decide what they want for themselves.

3

Personally, I would prefer a 4/10 work week. I tend to work like a horse Monday-Thursday anyway, and be somewhat burnt out by Friday. Being in a workplace that recognizes this work pattern and lets me have Fridays off would be excellent.

But that's just me. One big concern here is that this same pattern might not work for others, and institutionalizing it may bother them. I think it should be up to the members of your team which way they feel is best.

3

I think any rigid hours structure just doesn't work for programmers. Some days I come in and don't feel like coding anything so I just browse the web aimlessly. The best way to manage programmers is to define tight milestones on projects, and follow up on them.

Example: Build me a Bug Tracking Software

Milestone Examples: Database Design is Done, UI is done, Business Logic is done, Beta testing is done, ect...

Also different developers develop at different rates. I've gotten to the point where I can do in 4 hours what a junior developer would take two weeks to do. Is it fair that I only get 20% more workload than the junior guy?

Questions to ask yourself :).

2
  • (+) Your developers possibly already work more than 8 hours/day already.
  • (+) Your developers will appreciate having 3 days off.
  • (-) Your customers and support staff will need to be able to deal with the schedule.

One way to deal with the customers/support staff having access to developers when appropriate is to split the team into Mon-Thu, and Tue - Fri. That gives you coverage 5 days/week, and still gives your team three days/week working as a whole.

I've wished for a very long time that I could convince my various employers to be progressive enough to implement 4-tens.

1

If they're like me, then they will work better after 5pm, so this could be a good move. If you allow flexitime as well, then some people can would 7am - 5pm (strange, early people!), others 9am to 7pm, keeping core hours covered.

Of course, you should make then take the full hour of lunch, with a portion away from their desk, because 10 hours in that chair staring at that screen is not so good for them, nor good for the quality of work.

It's well documented that after a certain amount of hours programmers will be introducing more bugs than useful work, so never go down that path. It is an option for people who have varied workloads - meetings, design, and coding for example, as this limit is pushed back a little.

Hours might not work for people with lives as well. Great for single people, get Friday or Monday off, down the pub earlier, yay. So it shouldn't be mandatory. Indeed I think it should be earned for the people that do want it.

1

Joel has an article where he points out that his productivity as a developer has never been more than three hours a day. It is up to you to see whether it is applicable to you and your team members and whether working four day a week seems a better solution.

My argument for four days a week is environmentalist: you spare 20% gazoline each week.

1

I did the 4/10 once when I was working away from home and wanted to see my kids regularly. I actually did it alternating, so I worked 4, had 4 off, worked 4, had 2 off, worked 4, etc. It worked out great, because I'd get into the zone and not be interrupted by all the 5/8ers who'd already gone home. But by the time the 4 day weekend rolled around, I was exhausted and ready for the recuperation time.

1

The downside, I find working a 10 hour day programming will burn me out by the end of the day and I am no longer productive. I may be the exception but I find I work better in the mornings.

There have been many times where I spent the last 1-2 hours of the work day stumped on a problem, then I come in the next morning and work at it for 15 min and boom problem solved.

So the productivity of 40 hours in 4 days may != 40 hours in 5 days

1

What are you talking about here?

There are a number of studies that show that you cannot be effective at work long workdays. If you go from 8 to 10 hours you may see slight increase the first few weeks but it will probably go down soon enough. The extra day is not going help you focus for two more hours each of the other days.

I think you will end up with one or two more hours that are used for other activities than focusing on solving problems.

And as many others pointed out 10 hours will not be good for the employees with families.

0

If you allow people to choose the day off or even choose to stick to 5/8 it could work well.

I wouldn't want to be forced into 4/10 as I tend to not be able to put in more than about 6 hours of productivity a day for some types of work (like design and analysis).

The issue of not having the right man on today might be a bonus in some ways as it can force you to keep more than one person up to date on every aspect of the project. Sort of a variant of the Hit-By-A-Bus theory of management.

0

Doing 10 hours a day instead of the regular 8 will certainly be something to get used to for most of the team members. Having to concentrate 2 extra hours will certainly make you more tired.

I think that it is something that you should dicuss with the whole team. Some people will have to do other stuff before or after work that might be impossible if they have to do 2 extra hours.

All in all, if you get everyone to agree I think you might be a bit more productive, since you eliminate the getting started time of the one day you do less, which can easily be 30 minutes.

0

I've been in several environments that employed 4/10 work weeks (or at least allowed them), and employee productivity soared. They were manufacturing-related, but giving the extra day incentive, in my opinion, made the employees actually want to come to work.

0

Well...

Advantages: ? 4-day work weeks save gas and reduce pollution, like a reduction in exhaust emissions from commuter cars

? The 3-day break is a huge stress reliever resulting in happier, healthier people.

? More quality time with family and friends (recreation, maybe)

? The 4-day work week could lead to a revolution in the office that will result in productivity being the central value of work, rather the number of hours logged by employees

? This leads to improving the business and work done by employees. Employees are more motivated and ready to do the needed work in the work place. This will make the profit margins of the business increase

? There will be less absenteeism as employees have less need to miss work for doctor's visits and other obligations

? Employers can save on energy (like gas, as mentioned before), custodial and security costs

? The utility bills are lower

? Longer hours at the office would keep employees out of the roads during rush hour. This would mean a shorter and less stressful commute time, less time spent on the road, and lower parking fees

Disadvantages:

? More hectic daily schedule for workers

? To some people, it sounds like an encouragement to slack and be lazy

? It might take the body and mind a long time to adjust to working after a long 3-day break

? It takes a lot off workers? salary

? The body gets tired

? The society will not be able to develop as fast as it will be if it is 5-day

? Stress of juggling ten-hour days and childcare; to get to work on time employees may need to leave before their children are awake

? Customers may complain if staff are absent

? There may be a need for more breaks within one day. This can be done and worked through, but will cause a problem if employee and employer don't agree

? Sales can be a major disadvantage. Many customers want to come on Friday or Monday to the business. If customers are used to coming on the day the business is now not open on, they can get discouraged and go to another business

? In companies that deal with the public, a four-day week may mean fewer employees are present to deal with the customers. (POSSIBLE REBUTTAL: This can be improved by employees working on different days, so a group can have Mondays off while the other can have Fridays off)

? Working ten-hour days continuously can get stressful and draining. The longer working hours may reduce the productivity of the workers

? 10 hours takes too much time from the family

0

I am an employee who went from working 6, twelve hour days with one company, to 4, ten hour days with my new job. I'd much rather work harder for my new employer than my old one. Every day, every hour.