10 hour days vs 8 hour days

Pros and cons of working 4 - 10's versus 5 - 8's. August 13, 2002

Can anyone comment on the merits of working 10-hour days versus the standard five 8-hour days?

Forum Responses
If you can work 4-10's and get paid 40 hours straight time and have a 3-day weekend every week, that's hard to beat. If the employee expects 2 hours at overtime rate for each day he works more than 8 hours, that's different. You will generally get more done in 4-10's because you have 1 day's worth of tear down/setup per week, and the guys generally like it because they only have to pack a lunch 4 days a week and it saves on gas, etc. I would love to work 4-10's any day. Of course, start and end times are a key point. A guy likes to see his family before they go to bed.

From contributor J:
A ten-hour day is an awful long day in the shop, but the three-day weekend is a great employee benefit. At the University of Washington’s shop they work 9, 9 hour shifts every two weeks and alternate a man out on different days. So the shop is operating 5 days a week, but every other week the guys get a day off that they can use for errands and medical appointments.

Contributor J, that's 81 hours in 2 weeks. Will that last hour be overtime? We have heard of some people doing a 9 hour thing and taking every other Friday off for a 3 day weekend, but that would leave the U of W shop without a crew every other Friday unless they staggered the staffing.

From contributor J:
They stagger their days off and keep the shop going 5 days a week. I am not sure how they handle the extra hour every two weeks. I don't work there but some of my ex-employees do. It is amazing how many different cabinet shops that they have for the school and their hospitals.

We just switched to 5-8's from 4-10's. It's nice to have a life again and see the family. I have done 10's since 1993 and it just drags you down after awhile, with one day running into the next with a pause for sleep. You can get away with the ten-hour days for awhile, but end up losing productivity after 8 hours in the long run.

We work 5 - 10-hour days. Have done it for 15 years. We still can't keep up and our guys love the time-and-a-half overtime.

We try to keep the shop going 50 a week, and those on hourly rotate a day off through the week. Yeah, it's a blow to have any of your key personnel off on a production day, but I think we get more done for it.

Downside - I'm there the whole 50 plus. Cross-training, in our case, is imperative. We do mostly flooring, paneling and architectural moldings and do have a rather small and select crew.

From contributor D:
We went to 4-10's over a year ago, and all the employees love it. They work 6am to 4:30pm Monday through Thursday. I like it because it's peaceful around here on Fridays, but there are other advantages, too.

If there's a need to finish up a project on overtime, the guys still have a full weekend. I take most of our deliveries on Fridays, so production is never interrupted with unloading trucks - everything is ready to go Monday morning. It gives me a chance to maintain pieces of equipment, throw out the scraps and give clients a shop tour without worrying about their safety or what they'll think of our music selection. I pay on Mondays, so it gives me a chance to gather up the PDA's they use for time tracking and synchronize it with Quickbooks for payroll without having to stay after work. It's even easier to schedule and analyze production rates dealing with 4-day weeks - must be the round numbers.

From contributor R:
Contributor D, I would like to know a little bit more about the PDA's and time tracking. We are in the construction business and have thought about having foreman carry a PDA for time tracking, job costs and payroll. We currently use Quickbooks Pro as our accounting/ payroll software and they have time and job tracking.
1. Can a foreman cover a 4-6 man crew on a single PDA?
2. Can it be downloaded directly to the Quickbooks program?
3. Can materials and equipment be tracked?
4. Can multiple jobs be covered during the course of the week?
5. What type of PDA would work?

About a year ago I switched from 5 eight hour days to Monday - Thursday at 9 hours and Friday at 4. It seems to work pretty well. My employees sure do like it. They are done at 11:00am on Friday, which gives them a feeling of having a long weekend. Also, they use Friday afternoons for stuff like going to the doctor, that they would have scheduled during the week.

I found that under the old 5 x 8 schedule, production really started to drop off on Friday after lunch. Now on Fridays, we probably get almost as much done in 4 hours as we did in 8 under the old system. (I'm exaggerating, but you get the point.)

Plus, it gives me Friday afternoons to get a lot of paperwork done (or skiing or golf, as the case may be!). My customers all know our schedule, so the phone doesn't usually ring on Friday afternoons. It's amazing what you can get done when you don't have constant interruptions. I've been debating going to 4 days at 10 hours. But I haven't been able to overcome the psychological barrier of only being open 4 days a week yet.

From contributor D:
Contributor R, I don't know if it will do everything you're expecting, because all we do is track three things - Client, Project and Task. I know that it has the ability to track materials, mileage, miscellaneous expenses, etc. Not sure about multiple employees.

It's called TimeReporter 2000. We run it on Palm 105's.

Contributor R, you may want to look at Tracktivity - it will do what you want, except I'm not sure about the foreman covering other workers part.

From contributor D:
Although I think Tracktivity is a good product, there's a couple of reasons we didn't go that route.

First, it's expensive.

Second, it relies on numbers to identify projects. With a secondary application for a Palm, the database is pre-populated with the clients, the jobs and the tasks, all available in drop down menus. An employee, therefore, is not required to know that the Smith Construction is contractor number 7, the Johnson Project is job number 3, and they're currently working on Faceframes, which is operation number 21. They just tap on the names.

Third, all time information when using a Palm application can be downloaded directly into Quickbooks.

Contributor D, using your method, can you spread the times across more than one job or task?

From contributor D:
Contributor P, the program is like a stopwatch. You click on start and it prompts you to enter a project and a task. When you're done with that task, you click on stop. There's no way that I know of to have it record time information to two projects simultaneously, or to two tasks simultaneously.

Never worked 10's, but I did work 12's a whole lot. I hated every minute of it. The shop was a 24/7 shop. You worked 6:30am - 6:30pm or 6:30pm - 6:30am or you worked 7:00 am - 7:00pm or 7:00pm - 7:00am. There was an early shift (30 minutes) so there was never any downtime. In addition to the hours, you worked 3 days on, 3 days off, followed by 4 days on, 4 days off. They got away with paying overtime under the FLSA rule that time could be accumulated over a month instead of daily or weekly. At any rate, the short week wasn't that bad, but that extra day on the long week was a killer. Oh, and least I forget, there was always something to do at the end of the day, so very seldom did you get out of there exactly on time and when you did, all you wanted to do was sleep in preparation for your next shift. I would take 8's anytime. I can't imagine 10's being any different from 12's.

Here, the schedule is:
7h00 to 12h00
12h30 to 1730
With 15 minute pauses at 9h30 and 15h00. I have quiet time on Friday morning for paperwork and maintenance. It's a three-man shop, making residential furniture.