Chick-fil-A operator introduces 3-day workweek resulting in 100% employee retention

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Friday, November 4, 2022
Chick-fil-A operator introduces 3-day workweek
A Chick-fil-A operator in Florida is giving employees a three-day workweek.

FLORIDA -- What staffing shortage? One Miami Chick-fil-A owner-operator has been deluged with applications after switching his staff to a three-day, 14-hour-per-day workweek.

Justin Lindsey was looking for a novel way to reward workers who were "literally working 70 hours a week, week in and week out," he recently told QSR magazine.

The popular franchise was profitable and sales were robust but that was coming at the expense of staff burnout. So, early this year, Lindsey cooked up a new recipe for success: overhauling weekly schedules.

He divided his staff of 38 - 18 store leaders and 20 frontline employees - into two groups and alternated weekly schedules into three-day blocks of 13- to 14- hour shifts.

The result: 100% retention at the management level and a flood of new job applicants. An opening this fall at the Kendall-neighborhood restaurant drew more than 420 candidates.

The restaurant is just another example of businesses experimenting with non-traditional shifts ever since the pandemic upended the 40-hour workweek.

Although the majority of companies have been reluctant to change, some firms, and even some bosses, have urged flexibility as a way to entice and retain workers by offering them a better work-life balance.

In his restaurant's case, Lindsey said the three-day workweek allows his staff to plan lives outside of work in advance.

"I think people want to work in this industry," Lindsey said in the report. "But they want some things to change, and I think that's what this has shown - is that there are things that if we change it for the better, we're going to make a lasting impact." Lindsey could not be reached for comment by CNN.

A three-day workweek is still very rare, but the buzz around a four-day week has been gaining momentum.

In a six-month pilot program in the UK, 3,300 workers across 70 companies agreed to work 80% of their usual weekly hours in exchange for promising to maintain 100% of their productivity. Their pay was unchanged. At the end of this month, the companies will decide whether to keep the program.

A similar test in Iceland was successful. And when Microsoft tried a shorter workweek in Japan in 2019, it found productivity increased up by almost 40%.