It was a Sunday night, and you needed to buy a textbook for class the next day. The biggest rivalry in college football was coming up, and you were looking for a new television to watch the game. You were tired of buying songs and movies and wanted a special online service that would give you access to millions of options. You sought out a small device that could search the internet, play music, answer questions, and more just by asking it to.
There is one company that can provide you all these services, Amazon. Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon first started as an online bookstore, then moved onto electronics, clothing, music, DVDs, etc. Decades later, Amazon is recognized as the second largest tech company and has formed into an economic empire.
However, Jeff Bezos’s company is in the process of exploring new horizons. Now, there is going to be more focus on Amazon’s employees that work to ensure the company’s success. This new initiative is the 30-hour work week. Being a student, I have never worked a 9-5 workday. I worked about six hours a day in the summer, so I can understand how people are exhausted from these extensive eight-hour shifts. Amazon has realized that by implementing a shorter workday, employees may have more positive attitudes, be more productive, and continually influence the company for the better. Amazon has announced that they will be testing this new schedule among certain technical teams in the HR department. The required hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. The 14 hours that are left over are to be completed when the employee seems fit. They will receive 75% of a normal salary and full benefits.
However, Amazon is not the first company to be experimenting with a change in the usual work schedules. Two companies in Sweden and one in Japan have been doing the same thing. The Svartedalens nursing home of Gothenburg, Sweden has used the 30-hour work week for more than a year. Results showed the employees having more energy at work and higher morale. Although the nursing home had to hire 15 more nurses, there was a decrease in sick days, so the cost of hiring the additional nurses, $735,000, was cut nearly in half. Similar to Svartedalens, Brath, a Swedish online search optimization company, implemented six-hour workdays. They noticed there was improved leadership, and workers were much more productive. Microsoft Japan, a subsidiary of Microsoft, ran a trial of a shorter work week this past summer. They experienced increased productivity by 40%. Because the work week is only four days, the cost of running the business decreases as well. Electricity costs for Microsoft Japan went down by 23%, and with these results, the company plans to test another modified work week in the winter.
I rely on Amazon for a number of things, ranging from ordering my Calculus textbook to deciding which movies I am going to binge-watch over the holidays. As an avid user of Amazon, I am particularly excited to see how this 30-hour work week influences the immense company.
There truly are limitless possibilities to how this will affect Amazon, and I absolutely think this is going to be a very positive addition to the company’s corporate culture. Amazon is a company that thrives on the positive outlook of its consumers. If this 30-hour work week is a success, given the results from other companies, Amazon employees will be happier, more productive, and more intuitive. This could mean an increase in the company’s unique service options and more positive feedback from consumers, resulting in a bright future for Amazon and all its employees.