Lowe's Tweaks Scheduling System, Offers Full-Time Employees 4-Day Work Week
Lowe’s is giving full-time workers in its stores the choice to schedule four-day work weeks. The home improvement retailer made the decision after its five-day schedule left many associates complaining about an inability to find a balance between their personal and work lives as a result of having very few consecutive days off, reports Retail Wire. Lowe’s introduced the new four-day scheduling option last week to provide “more flexibility and consistency” in associates’ schedules.
In 2019, Lowe's instituted a program that gave workers a full weekend off every eight weeks. As a result, there were very few weeks when workers had consecutive days off. Complaints about the system led Lowe’s to offer standard five-day shifts for workers with more weekends off. Workers continued to complain about the scheduling, which combined with short staffing levels and high customer demand caused many to feel physically, emotionally and mentally drained on their days off.
Total Retail's Take: Managing the complex schedules of hourly store associates has been a thorn in retailers' sides for years. As Lowe's and many other retailers grapple with staffing challenges, keeping store employees happy becomes essential to the operation and success of brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers are trying many different ways to attract and retain workers with perks like flexible scheduling.
Lowe's is taking steps to respond to associates' requests for better work-life balance. However, this issue isn't unique to the home improvement retailer. The retailer's scheduling overhaul draws attention to the somewhat chaotic employee experience that many hourly workers in the industry face.
Business Insider reports that in anonymous interviews, Lowe's workers said they felt burned out by long workweeks and struggled to accomplish simple, daily tasks during their time off. Following the boom in the home improvement sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, "everyone is tired," one employee said. "We all just want some consistency," the employee added, referencing the desire for stable work days and shift times across multiple weeks. Other retailers should take note of Lowe's response to employee feedback and revisit worker experience to ensure stores are stocked with happy and satisfied associates.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.