Why Compressed Work Weeks Can Be Great For Employees and Employers

A compressed work week is a useful flexible work arrangement that can help free up valuable time for family and life demands while minimizing workplace disruptions.

With a Compressed Work Week, this could be your schedule
With a Compressed Work Week, this could be your schedule

Employees Win!

I have a friend who is a public-sector lawyer with a wife and two young children. He opted for a compressed work week (CWW), in which he works nine 9-hour days over a two-week stretch and then has every other Friday off (another common type of CWWs consists of four 10-hour days with every Friday off). He still works the same number of hours, essentially banking one extra hour a day and cashing these in every two weeks.

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Workplace Flexibility: The Key to Work-Family Balance?

Workplace flexibility is a key for working parents trying to balance work and family. Here are some questions that can help us assess the flexibility we have at work, and some ideas about how to leverage them.

a screencap of my recent HBR article
A screencap of my recent HBR article aimed at supervisors. What are its implications for us working dads? Keep reading to find out!

Last week, I wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review blog in which I advised well-intentioned supervisors on how to be more “family-friendly” while upholding performance standards. My advice was:

  1. Focus on What, Not How or When

  2. Get Better at Measuring Performance

  3. Delegate, Coach, and Let Your People Earn Trust

  4. Serve as a Work-Family Balance Role Model

The common thread for the first three items is allowing employees more flexibility in how, where and when they perform their jobs, while still maintaining high standards for what. Overall, I think it is sound advice for managers, and the piece was very well-received.

However, I largely write this blog to help my fellow working dads navigate work and family issues. So, what are the implications of this article for the working father?

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How to Survive a Snow Day

When you have two working parents, unexpected days without school can really put you out. Snow days are awesome for kids. Not so for parents. By planning ahead, we can make them easier for us to handle.

Snow days are great for kids, but not so much for working parents!
Snow days are great for kids, but not so much for working parents!
(Disclaimer: I am recycling this article from the first snow day of last yea- it seems appropriate, given the weather across the Northeast. Stay safe and bundle up!)

Dear God, Don’t Let Them Cancel School!

Not long ago, I was awoken at 5am by the home telephone. Considering the time, and since no one (except my mom or telemerketers) calls me on the home phone, my disorientation turned to dread as I saw that it had begun to snow overnight. Before I could reach the phone, the answering machine picked up and I heard:

“This is an important message from the Nyack school district. Classes are cancelled for the day”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Amy has an audition in the city. I have class and some meetings at work. It’s not snowing so much that our work will be closed. Grrr. What are we going to do?

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An Interview on Fatherhood, Work-Family Balance, and What Makes a Good Dad

My employer, Fairleigh Dickinson University, runs a video series which highlights the research and professional work of selected faculty members. A short while ago, they asked if I would be part of their program and would discuss my work on work-family issues for fathers. I think the interview went very well, and it really captures my work here at Fathers Work and Family. Enjoy.

Here’s the video of my interview (about 5 minutes long):

Here’s the transcript of the interview:

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Why So Many People Support Work Flexibility

Supporters of work flexibility share how it benefits them, their families and their employers.

1MFWF-website-badge

I am proud to be a part of One Million for Work Flexibility. I encourage you to check out their website and join in the movement.

When you sign up to voice your support, you are also asked to write in the reason for your support. Here is a random sampling of responses gathered from respondents to the 1MFWF website, split into a few categories:

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One Million for Work Flexibility

Here’s something we can do to raise our voices together in support of work flexibility!

Welcome Harvard Business Review Readers! Please take a look around this website, including the category links to the right and my writing at HBR and other outlets above. if you like what you see, you can follow this blog via facebook, twitter or email (see links to the right). Thanks for visiting!

As I noted last week, October is National Work and Family Month– an effort to raise awareness of the importance of work-family balance for employees and employers. I am happy to also be a part of a second advocacy push- One Million for Work Flexibility.

1MFWF-website-badge

One Million for Work Flexibility seeks to get, well, one million individuals and companies to voice their support for workplace flexibility. By uniting our voice, we will be better able to successfully advocate for changes to corporate and public policy.

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Work and Family, A Conflict of Generations?

Can the causes of work-family conflict be traced to generational differences in priorities? Here’s the evidence- plus what we Gen Xers can do to improve the situation.

Three generations. We all probably see the value of work-family balance a little differently
Three generations. We all probably see the value of work-family balance a little differently

Talkin’ About Our Generations

I think studies based on generational differences are over-rated. After all, how valid could it possibly be to lump together people 48 years old to 33 years old in order to compare them with people 49 to 67 years old? I mean, wouldn’t the 48 and 49 year olds have more in common with each other than the rest of their purported “groups”?

With that caveat, I recently came along “Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees,” by Greg Hammill, in which he summarized some of the findings about different work-related attitudes and values among generations. This chart caught my eye:

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Joe Flacco and Hunter Mahan: Why They Both Made the Right Work-Family Decision

A few weeks ago, PGA golfer Hunter Mahan left a sporting event to be at the birth of his child. Last week, NFL star Joe Flacco chose to play. Why I support both of their decisions.

Real progress for working dads comes when we have choices and can thoughtfully make work-family decisions that work for us.

Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens in training...
Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens in training camp July 23rd, 2008 (Wikipedia, Creative Commons license)

High-Profile Fathers

Over the past few months, I praised high-profile new dads who made public actions to prioritize family over work. Of particular note was pro golfer, Hunter Mahan, who left a tournament he was leading (and in which he could have won $1Million) to be at the birth of his daughter. He made a high-profile choice that, in my opinion, sent an important signal about fatherhood. I was especially encouraged by the support Mahan received from the golf and sports world.

Last week, Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Joe Flacco was faced with a similar dilemma. His wife unexpectantly went into labor shortly before the Ravens’ game against the Cleveland Browns. Flacco talked with his wife and other family members over the phone, but did not leave the stadium for the hospital. Instead, he played, leading the Ravens to a much-needed victory. As soon as the game ended, he sped to the hospital, a few hours after the birth of his son.

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