Eastern KY organization adopts 32-hour workweek
The traditional 40-hour workweek is a thing of the past for workers at a nonprofit in eastern Kentucky.
Earlier this year, Appalshop, a media, arts, and education organization in Letcher County, started a pilot program in which staff members participated in a 32-hour workweek and reported on the effect it had on their productivity and personal well-being.
Appalshop’s Operations Director Roger May said the program aimed to show it is possible to maintain a healthy work-life balance without working 40 hours a week.
“We ran that for six months, presented the board with the data we collected, and they ultimately voted to approve a 32-hour work week,” May said.
May said the staff reported many benefits to the reduced hours.
“63 percent of staff saw an improvement in the quality of their work. 74 percent experienced higher motivation. 80 percent experienced a better work-life balance,” he said. “We found that 82 percent of our staff were able to work fewer than 40 hours in a week, and about 47 percent or almost half were able to work right at 32 hours a week.”
May said they were able to maintain the same number of staff without losing productivity levels.
“We found that when you narrow the workweek down to four days instead of five, people showed up to work more motivated,” he said. “They were able to get their work done.”
May said Appalshop has implemented the 32-hour workweek by designating Fridays as flex days, meaning no meetings are scheduled, and staff may choose to work half a day or not at all.