“Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” -Woody Allen
If you ask a human resources practitioner what topic really rankles them, it won’t be the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or even the Affordable Care Act. It will be absenteeism. Or, rather, the ability to be absent again and again without repercussion.
We keep track of who’s at work and who isn’t so it smacks us in the face every day. Another sick day for Ralph? Are you kidding? How many is that this month? Is he really sick?
I was at a meeting with some HR people recently when someone asked the question, “What are companies doing for attendance incentives?” My brain couldn’t process the question at first. I wanted to say, “We pay people if they come to work.” What more incentive do you need? Clearly, I had missed the point. One company’s response, and I’m not making this up, was that they paid a weekly bonus to employees who came to work five days in a row.
Now, I’m not naive enough to think that everyone will be at work every day. People get sick. Their kids get sick. They go on vacation. They go to court. Their dogs get loose. They get really sick. They get hip replacements. Their cars break down. Their basements flood. Their wisdom teeth become impacted.
You get the idea. There are plenty of reasons not to be at work.
But, at the end of the day, the work has to get done. If you and I aren’t there, doesn’t someone have to do it? I’m beginning to wonder.
It seems like we’ve built up a tolerance to absenteeism. How many times do managers say, “Jack does a great job….when he’s here”? Telecommuting is common in today’s workforce, but our company doesn’t do it. So if you hear someone say, “Jim’s working ‘from home’ today,” that’s not a good thing.
The idea of a four day work week comes up periodically. It’s a great concept. Work four days and then employees will make all their appointments on the fifth day. But what if your dentist is closed that day or your basement refuses to flood on your day off?
I think I may have the solution.
Being at the same company for over twenty years, I have a feel for when work gets done. Monday and Friday are out because they are the most frequently taken personal or vacation days. The employees who work those days are too busy talking about the weekend coming up or the one that’s just passed to actually do any work. Plus, they are wishing they were off, too.
Forget Wednesday. It’s the pivot point for the week. Hump day. It’s as far away as you can get from either weekend. It’s like an island unto itself. We know that the week is more than half over by the end of the day and we’re too focused on that to do a lot of work.
Thursday has become almost a pre-Friday. You may have heard the term “Thirsty Thursday.” The weekend talk starts ramping up on Thursday. Thursday is definitely out.
What are we left with? You guessed it. Tuesday is the day that the most work gets done. The leftover weekend talk of Monday is over. Those returning from their long weekends can’t blather on about them because no one wants to hear it. We were all here yesterday, so good for you, but now zip it! We can’t even see Thursday, let alone Friday, so we might as well do some work.
I don’t know if the business world is ready for a One Day Work Week. It may be too far outside the box for the mainstream. But if anyone wants to test it out, I’m willing to schedule my chiropractor appointments for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
What is your favorite day to take off? Please leave a comment…