Business Smarts: Work Schedule Options to Explore - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Business Smarts: Work Schedule Options to Explore

In the battle for employees, it can be hard to compete against industries that are able to offer their hires remote or hybrid work. However, you can still provide different types of work-life balance to your team with various work schedule options.

The main thing team members are looking for is a job that doesn’t require them to work unsustainable hours, seven days a week. What type of work schedule will work best for your organization depends on your services and your team’s preferences.

The 4-Day Workweek  

The push for the 4-day workweek is becoming more widespread, and different landscape companies across the country have been able to implement this schedule at their organizations.

This schedule setup can be beneficial for crews that are already working 10 hours or more during the week. It also provides more time for employees to recuperate over the weekend.

“The team loved it,” says Kelly Slater, VP of Pleasant Landscapes, based in Awendaw, South Carolina. “They had been accustomed to working 8-11 hours per day anyway during our peak season, so the official rollout of the new schedule really didn’t change too much for them. I think knowing they had that 3-day weekend to look forward to really improved morale and I noticed a slight increase in their motivation, too.”

The 9/80 Schedule

If the 4-day workweek isn’t feasible for your team, another option is the 9/80 schedule. This is where 80 work hours are divided over a two-week period. Typically, employees work eight nine-hour days, one eight-hour day, and have one day off.

This type of schedule can be used to give half of your team Friday off and the other half Monday off, ensuring everyone is getting a three-day weekend but the business is open all week.

Grow and Company, based in Houston, Texas, moved their management team to this type of schedule, rewarding their staff with 21 Mondays off in the year.

“People need time away from the grind and they need time to spend with their families,” says Kyle Cahill, founder of Grow and Company. “They need those extended weekends. In our business when you have what’s sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘100 days of hell,’ you need to reset. You need to recharge even amongst that. You need that mental break.”

Summer Fridays

Another option is to offer Summer Fridays. These are typically offered from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Depending on the company, employees have every Friday off, half days off every Friday, or every other Friday off during this time period.

This work schedule may seem like the opposite of ideal for your landscape company as it’s probably when you are the busiest, but it’s also when your team is the most likely to get burnt out. This schedule perk can help boost morale as team members are able to enjoy the summer weather with their families and look forward to a reward at the end of the week.

Marisa Gora, the owner of Kemora Landscapes, based in Chicago, Illinois, says her employees can struggle with motivation during the heat of the season when the team can feel overloaded.

“I try to make sure that we only do overtime for a certain period of time and then cut back the hours and then by the time we get to August, I do two four-day weeks in the month, so every other Friday we’ll have Friday off,” Gora says.

Be Flexible

If none of these options work, you can always mix and match concepts to find something that suits your specific operations. When considering different schedule options, think about how these changes will impact your hourly employees as many can be unwilling to lose work hours, even if it means more free time.

Gora says in her case, she promises her team a full 40 hours, so the hourly crews don’t feel they’re at a disadvantage.

In some cases, simply offering more PTO and encouraging your team members to take this time off can benefit their overall work-life balance. Make sure you aren’t promoting workaholic behaviors by praising individuals who continued working during their time off. This can make others believe they need to do the same or shouldn’t take off in the first place.

“We do make a big effort to follow through; if it’s your Monday off, take the time off,” Cahill says. “We don’t want to see you here.”

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.