Everyone likes to take a long weekend once in a while, but injection molder Pelham Plastics Inc. is experimenting with a long weekend every weekend.
``We try to make Pelham a good company to work for,'' said John Mackey, owner and president of the Pelham, N.H.-based firm, in an Aug. 26 telephone interview.
A four-day workweek was one of the ideas discussed at Mackey's monthly ``Breakfast with the Boss'' meeting that he holds with a few employees.
Mackey said some workers were worried about the high prices of gas and food.
``We thought it would be a win-win situation. It [also] saves one day a week of electricity,'' he said.
The company started most of its 47 workers on a 10-hour day, four-day-a-week schedule right after the July 4 holiday weekend, as a trial. Pelham will evaluate results this month. The business runs two shifts a day.
Mackey said the trial schedule may continue, but ``the bottom line is customer satisfaction.''
Productivity was up 1 or 2 percent the first month and he has been receiving positive feedback from employees and customers, Mackey said.
``We know weeks in advance what the due date is [for delivery],'' he noted, adding that the arrangement has not presented any problems.
Pelham does molding and assembly of medical-device products at its 15,000-square-foot facility. It operates six presses and a couple of assembly areas. The company will consider building an addition in the next 12-16 months.
One benefit is that the new schedule allows employees to spend more time with their families, according to Mackey. Once school starts, workers are anticipating time to catch up on other off-work activities, he added.
Other benefits? The weekly four-day production schedule cuts the company's power bill and allows the facilities maintenance manager to perform some of his work on Friday.
The schedule is not something new, but it is receiving more consideration at companies, according to Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting for the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va.
``We can see the number of organizations that are offering compressed workweeks are still under half 37 percent and that's gone up slightly each year,'' she said. More companies are looking at the idea now as a way of dealing with high gasoline prices, she said.
Compressed workweeks vary in configuration, depending on the company, with some employees working 4½ days and some working an extra hour a day for nine days and taking the 10th off, she said.