What does “extended workday” mean?
An extended workday refers to schedules longer than a normal workday. However, there is no clear unanimous decision on the length of time that constitutes an extended workday. Some people consider anything beyond an 8-hour shift to be an extended workday, while others say it is only beyond a 12-hour shift.
Many industries have begun adopting the extended workday schedule on the premise of having advantages. These include:
·Having more days off to spend with friends and family
· Fewer workdays = more rest days to recover
· Higher job satisfaction
· Reduced number of absences
However, the decision to extend working hours should be made with caution. As with anything, it also has disadvantages, including:
· Longer hours = more breaks needed
· Decreased alertness
· Overall decline in safety
· Perceived loss of connection with operations
Here are some guidelines in order to maximize the benefits of an extended workday properly:
· Find out if government approval is needed to implement extended workdays in your location and industry.
· Consult workers if they are agreeable to this work schedule or not, and why.
· Consider the demands of the job and hazards involved. Are workers handling dangerous chemicals or devices? Are they working in a hot, dusty, noisy environment? Are they working with heavy machinery?
· Consider the mental effort required by the job and how many breaks would be needed if an extended workday is implemented.
· Consider the social time of the workers. Do they have families and little children that need care and attention?
· Consider the seasonal demands of the industry and occupation. Christmas and other seasons mean higher demand in production. That is also when people would like to spend more time with their families.
If implementing an extended workday is decided, always set a trial period. Introduce the schedule gradually to a small group for flexibility. Analyze the efficiency of the schedule and compare with worker satisfaction. Monitor accidents rates, if any. Monitor overall health and safety practices of workers while at work.