By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
Nov. 9, 2022
A five-day workweek is what most of us are used to for most full-time employees, but is it the best approach to business operations? Here is what we can learn from Chick-fil-A’s three-day workweek for full-time employees, including whether and how it might work in your practice.i
Like Chick-fil-A locations, most eyecare practices are open six days a week. And like most eyecare practices, the majority of the team is patient/customer-facing, so there are lessons to learn from Chick-fil-A’s three-day workweek for team members.
The New York Times reported that companies experimenting with a four-day workweek have experienced no loss in productivity and even some improvements.ii
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Now, Chick-fil-A is taking it another step with a three-day workweek. Chick-fil-A’s model condenses the workweek into three days. Employees have a set three days to work each week and work 13-14 hours per day (13 hours/day x 3 days/week = 39 hours/week). Employees then have four days off.
Currently, this model is only being used at one location in Miami. As with anything new, there are always many things to work out such as: logistics of scheduling, time off and retaining benefits. These are the same issues an eyecare practice needs to address.
Benefits for Team Members
The benefits for team members for a work schedule that only takes up three days are: childcare planning, taking on another job and having more days free to do whatever they want to do.
Benefits for Employers
- To really make this three-day model work, teams need to be created. One way to do this is to have two teams: a Monday-Wednesday team and a Thursday-Saturday team. This gives the employer an excellent way to judge team performance on productivity and effectiveness. As practice consultants, one of the most common lines we hear from less-than-stellar performing practice owners is – “My practice is different.” With two different teams within the same practice, it now becomes easier to judge performance. If Team X has 80 percent second-pair sales and Team Y has 15 percent second-pair sales, instruct Team Y to change what they are doing and follow exactly what Team X is doing. Present in the same order, say the same words, do everything the same as Team X and you should expect the same results as Team X.
- One of the problems in the current environment in eyecare practices is hiring new team members. At the Miami Chick-fil-A location, when the three-day workweek was introduced, 400 applications flooded in. You should know there has been a 100 percent retention rate at the management level, which translates into a better working environment for all team members.
- And one more benefit is that the Miami Chick-fil-A location utilizing the three-day work week is on track to be one of the best-performing locations in the entire chain (average annual sales for a single location of the chain are around $8.4 million and the Miami three-day work week location is set to bring in $17 million by the end of the year).
Are you ready to move to a three-day work week for team members while keeping the practice open six days a week? One thing we do know is that the world is changing. Always keep in mind that survival of the fittest does not mean survival of the strongest, but it does mean survival of those who can adapt the fastest and best.